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A Highland Emerald Excerpt by Brenda B. Taylor

Posted by Julie on September 18, 2017 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

Excerpt:

Isle of Mull

Scotland, 1486

 

My father sat in his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flame with dim eyes and a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.

“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”

I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap. Making my way to the stool where my mother’s embroidery frame stood, I took a seat and watched the flame.

Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth chief and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”

“How did you ken ’twas I?” He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events  around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.

“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” He extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck.

He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ‘Tis so like your mither’s. You use the same scented soap as she.”

“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostril’s?”

“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.” He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before his sight was taken in battle. He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”

“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”

“Don’t try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.” His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul. “I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the evening meal.” A line formed between his brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”

“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.” The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.

 

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Don’t Miss This: A Highland Emerald by Brenda B. Taylor

Posted by Julie on September 17, 2017 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

 

 

Blurb:

Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

 

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. It tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro, and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

 

Author Contact Information:

Historical Heartbeats

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Excerpt: Ransom in Rio by Theresa Lynn Hall

Posted by Julie on August 28, 2017 in ACFW, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |
Excerpt from Ransom in Rio, Theresa Lynn Hall
Her worst nightmare had come to life.
Now, the fear of what she would do if it ever happened was over, but the loss of her brother came with a burden she hadn’t foreseen. It left her to deal with her family alone. To carry the legacy. To protect the empire. To convince everyone to believe the lies.
“He was always so careful,” she muttered to herself as she drove.
Snow had started falling as the last “Amen” was said at the cemetery. The heavy white powder made the pale, yellow lines on the road fade in and out of sight. Lexi tugged her sweater tighter around her body with one hand and gripped the steering wheel with the other. The funeral had drained her of what little emotional strength she had left. It was crazy, but several times throughout the day she’d found herself picking up her phone to see if Jace had messaged her. He used to text or call every day. Silly stuff sometimes, like never walk the dog with no shoes on. Once he’d texted that he had the hiccups.
“I just can’t believe he’s gone.” Lexi glanced at her friend. She didn’t expect Kristy to say anything. Nothing she could say would make the pain go away.
Jace had been the perfect big brother, Lexi’s best friend. From an early age, they learned that sticking together in a dysfunctional family was their only hope. One thing Lexi knew for certain was that Jace wouldn’t leave her here alone. He would not have put himself in danger for a stupid fishing trip. His chance to break free of their crazy family was finally around the corner. He’d just bought his girlfriend an engagement ring. They had plans to move to New York as soon as the wedding was over. Now he was gone. None of it made any sense. Why was she the only person who could see that something was wrong with ruling the cause of death as accidental?
Lexi brushed at her red hair with a careless hand and caught a glimpse of her swollen, blue eyes in the rearview mirror. She hardly resembled her brother at all—a fact that had always bothered her, but she’d never questioned it the way Jace had. He had always asked where he’d gotten his blonde hair.
“Lexi, why don’t you stay with me tonight?”
The sound of Kristy’s voice startled her. “I’m sorry. I’m really out of it.” She smiled and wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “Thank you for everything. You’ve done more than enough for me over the past few days.”
“You know I’m always here.” “I know.” She swallowed hard. “Kristy…”
“What’s wrong?” “I can’t stop thinking…I just don’t think this was
an accident. It couldn’t be. Jace didn’t even like to fish. He wouldn’t charter a boat to go fishing in Cozumel. He liked nice restaurants, museums, theaters. Not fishing. And then there’s the fact that he didn’t take Selena with him. He always had Selena with him. Why doesn’t anyone else seem to think this is odd?”
“I don’t know. Now that you bring it up, Jace wasn’t much of a risk-taker.”
“Exactly. The strangest thing is that Selena said he told her he would be back in an hour. He only left for one hour. Who charters a fishing boat for only an hour?”
“Did Selena tell you why he didn’t take her?”
“She didn’t say, and I didn’t want to ask her a lot of questions. Not yet.”
Kristy nodded. “I saw her today. She’s really not handling this well.”
“No one is.” She pulled into Kristy’s driveway. It was a relief to be off the snowy roads.
No matter how she looked at this, her brother’s death could not have been an accident. Somehow, she would prove that he didn’t drown on a fishing trip. She would prove Jace was murdered.
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Don’t Miss This: Ransom in Rio by Theresa Lynn Hall

Posted by Julie on August 27, 2017 in ACFW, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |
Don’t Miss This: Ransom in Rio
Private Investigator, Braden McCoy wants nothing more than to finish out the week doing a little fishing from his boat. The ex-special ops vet enjoys his peaceful life and loves his new career. He’s learned to put his past behind him and enjoy his blessings. Until a mourning redhead walks into his office and changes his plans.
Lexi Ramos always knew her family was dysfunctional. Until the sudden death of her brother, she never knew exactly how much. Consumed with questions surrounding his accident, she seeks the help of a private investigator. What starts out as a murder investigation in Cozumel, quickly crosses borders and escalates into a race against time to save them both from Brazilian kidnappers, who somehow know more about her family secrets than she does. Lexi soon realizes that life comes with a price.
BIO
As a native Texan, Theresa loves to write suspenseful stories that happen in small Texas towns with old fashioned Southern values. She’s an elementary teacher and mom to two boys—the oldest being in law enforcement, which comes in handy when she’s researching. When she’s not teaching kids or writing, she loves to cook, read a good suspense, and binge-watch episodes of Dateline. She is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She actively promotes fellow Christian Fiction authors on her blog. She also loves to hear from readers who enjoy Christian Fiction and can be found at www.theresalynnhall.com and @theresalynnhall.
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A Mother for Leah by Rachel L. Miller

Posted by Julie on August 3, 2017 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

A Mother for Leah by Rachel L. Miller

Will Leah Fisher find love because of a buggy accident? 

Could love soften her heart so that she is able to see her answered prayers in Naomi Yoder or will she drive a wedge between her father and the only woman he has shown interest in since Elisabeth Fisher’s death?

Leah Fisher lost her mother ten years ago. She is rapidly approaching womanhood and the lack is becoming more difficult every day.

Will she be able to recognize love when it’s right in front of her?

Could love be the key to Leah opening her heart, making room for the woman her father intends to marry… or will she stubbornly cling to the memory of her own mother?

Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or will she allow love to slip through her fingers, destroying Samuel Fisher and Naomi Yoder’s happiness at the same time?

 

Rachel L Miller writes sweet Amish romance with a focus on faith, family and friendship.

She feels very strongly that God has led her to live a simpler lifestyle ñ thus her deep kinship with the plain people. She enjoys spending time with her family and doing fun, simple things like swimming, making sun tea, sitting outside watching the sunrise or listening to rain fall on the tin roof.

Rachel enjoys writing Amish fiction and hopes that the purity of her stories will allow God’s message to shine through more clearly.†She also writes Contemporary Inspirational Romance – and with all of her stories she focuses on presenting romance the way God intended it to be.

Readers can connect with Rachel on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and her website: rlmauthor.com

Website: http://rlmauthor.com
Amazon: amazon.com/author/rlmillerauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/RLMauthor
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bIHd7T
Instagram: http://instagram.com/rlmauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RLMAuthor
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/RLM_Author/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/RachelLMillerAuthor

Purchase links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Leah-Windy-Wishes-Book-ebook/dp/B072FT6PJY
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-mother-for-leah-rachel-l-miller/1126615403?ean=9780998169279
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-mother-for-leah/id1231203953
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-mother-for-leah
Universal: https://books2read.com/amfl2017/

 

***

Engaged is now available!

Purchase on Amazon

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Answered Prayers by Darlene Franklin

Posted by Julie on August 2, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Prayer. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Prayer is our means of communication with God and God’s given requirement to watch him work. We read stories of men and women of prayer who pray(ed) 2 hours a day and feel like the disciples who couldn’t spend an hour in prayer with Jesus in the garden.

All my life I’ve felt like such a stumbling fool when it comes to prayer. I struggle to fill a single page in mu prayer journal. And I use a prayer journal because it forces me to focus, unlike closing my eyes to daydream—or fall asleep.

I offer all this background so you understand why this—thing­—has me shocked, surprised, delighted.

God is answering my prayers. When asked. As asked. In very demonstrable ways.

I started to notice it a few months ago. I prayed that my granddaughter would either leave her live-in boyfriend—or get married. She moved out. (and back in—but she did move out!)

At our weekly Bible study, our leader asked us to requested that we pray for his voice and his health. We prayed that because God had given him the lesson to share, that He would give him the strength to finish the lesson. And he did.

Later, a phlebotomist showed up for a blood draw. I selfishly prayed it would go easily. At a recent hospital visit, they had needed three-plus attempts every time they drew blood or put in an IV.

I didn’t even feel the needle go in.

A week ago, my vision was so blurry, I couldn’t see the music to play hymns at Bible study. I asked for prayer—vision restored.

Of course I’ve always known God answered prayer. And I haven’t had any significant “deposits” in the prayer bank. But I have never ever experienced this kind of clear, immediate answer. This feeling of—power?—had given me wings, a freedom to pray and actively expect an answer.

When I first starting writing devotionals, I found prayers the most difficult element to

Answered Prayer: A Guest Post by Darlene Franklin

write. But recently, I completed 48 prayers to accompany the upcoming 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women (TBR 2/1/18).  Here’s the first one:

Lord God, the story of prayer might be the story of great achievements, but my personal journey reads more like a survival tale, lurching from one day’s emergency to the next. Not everyone can be like Esther, who fasted, prayed, and wrested victory for her people from the hands of her enemy. I’m more like Hannah, who asked You for a son, and the Phoenician woman who beseeched Jesus to heal her child. I may not be like Lydia who offered her house as a place of worship, but I have often wept before You, like the woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears. As I rehearse Your gracious response to my prayers, open my eyes to the grandeur of Your achievements in my life. Amen.

I guess I absorbed the lessons as I wrote them!  Praise God for a very welcome transformation.

 

 

Bio: Darlene has been preparing to write devotionals all her life. She enjoyed the teaching of verse-by-verse teaching of the Bible three times a week in addition to her own private study all the way through school. At Northeastern Bible College, she majored in Bible and theology, and then attended Southwestern Baptist Seminary, where she graduated with a Master of Arts in Religious Education. When she began writing after her divorce, she started with a devotional project focused in about the lessons God had taught her, and her first ever published piece was a devotional in The Secret Place. Since then, Darlene has published over 300 devotionals in various publications as well as three stand-alone titles with Winged Publications.

 

Website and blog

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Amazon author page

Twitter: @darlenefranklin

 

Book blurb about 12 Months to Better Prayer:

Learn the art of prayer from the hearts of giants of the faith.

Prayer is simply talking with God—yet even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Since then, godly men and women of the faith have given us guidance to a deeper prayer life—and their most insightful comments are included in A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women.

Featuring the words of giants of the faith such as Andrew Murray, E. M. Bounds, Charles Spurgeon, and Hannah Whitall Smith, it’s arranged into 12 key topics.

Ideal for use on a year-long prayer journey, this book also includes prayer starters that will set you on a course of deeper, more personal times of conversations with God.

Book blurb about my fiftieth book, Mermaid’s Song:

At last, the much anticipated 50th book by Darlene Franklin!

Noble Prescott is drawn to the scene of a shipwreck by a sweet song sung in a language he didn’t understand. The songstress is barely alive, holding onto a piece of the ship’s railing. Her dress wraps around her legs like a mermaid’s tail.

Thus begins this imaginative retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale.

Justine Battineaux, an Acadian forced from her homeland on Cape Breton Island by British decree, finds herself adrift in the Maine colony. She doesn’t know the language and is distrusted as a foreigner.

Noble lives up to his name, providing shelter for Justine—and protection, as distrust turns into danger. For himself, his family—and the woman he comes to love.

How will Justine and Noble overcome the evil woman’s schemes to find their own love everlasting?

 



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