GNFA: A Year in Review

By Naty Matos

Well, if you are reading this it means you survived the 1,000th time since the existence of humanity where the end of the world has beenend announced. I tell you something. In preparation for the world not to end the authors of GNFA have been popping out books like rabbits.

Yes, this group has had a lot of accomplishments during the last 12 months. But let me start by telling you more about GNFA. It stands for Grace and Faith Authors. This is an organization that houses the best Christian Indie Authors in the market.

We pride ourselves with bringing the message of the cross and providing clean reads for Christians and non-Christians. Let me highlight some of the things that we can count as blessings more than accomplishments in 2012.

  • There were 95 books published amongst all the members of the group.
  • Two of those books have been nominated for Book of the Year by The Book Club Network
  • 2 other books achieved the #1 download in Amazon on their free day and another one reached #2
  • We opened a Facebook group for our readers to connect with our authors and now we have 101 members of the GNF Readers Connection!
  • There were 3 television appearances, 3 radio interviews, 1 magazine article and 1 newspaper article by some of our authors.
  • Two books from some of our authors were released on Audiobooks.
  • Our group count has grown to over 200 Christian Authors

I can tell you that our authors are already going full steam ahead in preparation for 2013. They will teach you, advise you, entertain you, comfort you and motivate you in the best way we know how, by writing good books.

But we couldn’t do any of this without you. So on this last day of 2012 I want to thank you for your support and following.

Happy New Year and have a blessed 2013!!!

Staci Stallings, Naty Matos & GNFA

2013

Are You a Star?

By Staci Stallings

Our world today is obsessed with stars–celebrities who make a lot of money, gain a lot of fame, or otherwise dominate the chitter-chatter of masses.  Many of us wish, even if fleetingly, that we could be a star, but most will never attain that “level” of “success.”

I found, however, a different and probably more important way to be a star this weekend.  So if you’re interested or have ever thought it would be nice to be a star, here’s your chance!

Not sure where this thought came from other than “up there,” but I was thinking about how a year or so ago, my sister compared me to the Magi.  I believe I wrote about that at the time–how she said I was a Magi because I was always looking for signs that would point me to God.  I thought that was really cool at the time.  This weekend, I had cause while thinking about that, to look just a little higher into the story.

I happened to be at my hometown church, which is always good for a few hundred incredible insights into life, and at my hometown, they have this HUGE creche inside the church.  The trees are as tall as live trees, decked out in white lights with this star above it.  Of course, Mary and Joseph have the Baby Jesus lying in a manger underneath.  This year I had cause to think about that star.  The one so long ago.  The one that was there, shining in the night, guiding the Wisemen to the place where Jesus was.

You may have heard the saying, “Wisemen still search for Him.”  Wise men still look for stars, just as I was those years ago when my sister dubbed me a Magi.  But what about that star?  Maybe it had a story too.

Now, I know, stars don’t have feelings and thoughts.  They are put in the sky for a time by God, and for their time, they shine, then they burn out and disappear.  (A bit like us, don’t you think?) But consider what if… what if… that little star so long ago DID have feelings and thoughts.  What would they have been, since that little star was SO far away from the action and burned for much longer than most of us celebrate Christmas (at least a year by most accounts)?

It might have gone something like this, “This is pointless.  I mean, when I first got here, it was fun, dancing around and everything.  But now, all I do is shine and shine and shine in the middle of all of this darkness, and what has it gotten me?  Burned fingertips that’s all.  I’m not even making a difference.  Look at all this darkness.  It’s still here.  I look out there, and there are other stars.  Sure most aren’t as bright as me, but they aren’t doing much good either.  I mean, look at ALL of this darkness.  We can never hope to overcome it.  What’s the point?  Maybe I should just tell God I’m a failure and go home.  I mean, how long can He expect me to keep this shining thing up?  I’ve been out here night after night after night, and nothing.  Sure, I heard the choirs of angels singing a couple times at first, but they haven’t done that in months.  Now I’m just out here, all alone, shining for no one to even see.  In fact, I bet those people down there on the earth don’t even know I’m here anymore…”

That’s the way we get, isn’t it?

Discouraged.  Tired.  Thinking whatever we’re doing is so meaningless as to be pointless.

We don’t often see and understand the real difference we are making… or could be making in the lives of others.

We don’t see those three Kings looking at our light and following our light to the Presence of Jesus in the world.  So sometimes we’re tempted to give up, to go home, to tell God it’s too hard.  But maybe we should take a few lessons from that little star about how to be a real star in this world.

First, the star recognized the Presence of Jesus, and the Presence of Jesus lit up the star’s life.  Do we recognize the Presence of Jesus in our lives, or do we slog through the day with our head down and our bodies on auto-pilot, trying to just get to the end of the day or the end of the week?  There is a better way.  FIND the Presence of Jesus all around you and inside of you.  Be a Magi.  Look for it.  The star found it and wanted to tell the world.

Second, let His light shine through you.  That little star had the first burst of excitement, but after that, it needed God’s power to stay lit.  Let God’s power light your life as well.

Next, remember that you never know who your light is leading.  I guarantee you, no matter who you are or where you are, someone is paying attention to your light and your life.  They are watching how you live and taking their cue from that.  It may be someone you don’t even know.  When people walk into your office, do you smile and greet them happily?  Or do you grumble and wish they would go away and let you get some work done?  There are wisemen and women out there, looking for someone to point them the right direction.  Is that person you?

Are you a star?

You can be, but you have to recognize the possibility and then act on it.  And when you get discouraged, always remember, just like that little star, God put you here for a reason.  You may not know what that reason is, but I challenge you to shine as best you can and let God work out the details you can’t even see.  The star did, and because of that, we still sing about that little star today.  To me, that’s worth remembering!

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2009

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to

Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings

choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Romance author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only…

Cowboy coverFREE ON KINDLE THREE DAYS ONLY!

December 26th – 28th:

Cowboy

 “One of the most gripping contemporary romances I’ve read in the past three years.”  

–Michelle Sutton, Amazon Top 1,000 Reviewer

 

Timothy Ashton Raines is at the top of his game and the end of his rope.  Then one night, he walks away from everything…

Available today as a free download from Amazon!

Three Ways to Find Free Christian Books for Your Kindle After Christmas

Guest post by Shelley Hitz

Getting a Kindle for Christmas?  Maybe you already have one or choose to read Kindle books via their free apps.  Whatever the case, it is now time to load up your Kindle with free Christian books online!

Here are my top 3 ways to load your Kindle with free Christian books online after Christmas….

#1:  Check the Kindle bestseller list each day for FREE Christian books

As you are probably aware, Amazon Kindle has a KDP select program for authors.  This allows authors to offer their books for free, 5 days every 3 months.  This benefits you as a reader because there are literally new free books to download every day.

The best place to look for free Kindle books is the best seller list.  The top paid books will be on the left and the top free books will be on the right.  You can see an example from the Christianity category in the screenshot below:

amazon

Here are the links to check on Kindle to find free books:

#2:  Check our blog daily (or subscribe) to get notified of free Christian books

We post free Christian books and giveaways daily on our blog.  Make sure to check back often to keep filling up your Kindle!

#3:  Finally, make sure you don’t miss the “Shop ‘Til You Drop” free Christian book promotion 12/26, 12/27 and 12/28

shop-til-you-drop-Christmas-promotion

This is a time-limited offer; therefore, make sure to mark your calendar so you don’t miss out!  You’ll be able to download over 30 Christian books, both fiction and nonfiction worth over $110.   You will also be able to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate to get even more books!  3 days only…

On December 26, 27 and 28th go here:  

www.bodyandsoulpublishing.com/shoptilyoudrop

There you go!  3 ways to load up your Kindle with free Christian books after Christmas.

Enjoy and happy reading!

Shelley Hitz

Shelley Hitz

Shelley Hitz is an award-winning and international best-selling author.  Her openness and vulnerability as she shares her own story of hope and healing through her books will inspire and encourage you.

Shelley has been ministering to teens since 1998 alongside her husband, CJ. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements.

You can find more about Shelley at www.ShelleyHitz.com or invite her to speak at your event here: www.ChristianSpeakers.tv

Interview with Bree from Double Identity

Today we are glad to meet Bree, one of the main characters from Inspirational Author Dawn Byrd’s new book “Double Identity”

Bree, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I’m not sure how interesting it is, but I’ve had the same boyfriend since middle school. I’ve always known Luke is the guy for me. We have big plans for the future. He’s going to be a veterinarian and we’re going to work together. He’ll take care of the large animals and I’ll be a small animal expert.

 What do you do for fun?

I love to hang out with Luke. He lives on a farm and raises horses. It’s fun to ride through the meadows and to pet the newborn animals.

What do you put off doing because you dread it?

I put off washing my car. It’s such a pain.

What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m afraid of losing my dad to cancer. Now that he’s back in my life, I don’t want to lose him.

 What do you want out of life?

All I want is to graduate from high school and college and marry Luke.

 What is the most important thing to you?

My parents and Luke and my faith. For seventeen years, I thought my father was dead, but he’s alive. He’s fighting cancer right now and I’m really scared. I don’t know what I’d do without my faith in God. I’m having a really hard time right now because my identical twin sister, Cassie, is in love with my boyfriend.

 Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?

I don’t have much time to read. I’m in high school and I work part-time at the local bowling alley.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d want to look totally different from my twin, Cassie. Having a twin does something to a girl’s identity. For example, Luke thinks I’m beautiful. Does he think my sister is beautiful too?

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

No pets, but I love to play with the animal’s on Luke’s farm.

 If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would go back to the day I was born and find a way keep my parents together so I could grow up with my sister. Maybe if we’d grown up together, she would be a nicer person.

We thank Bree for taking the time to talk to us.

About K. Dawn Byrd

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational novels in several genres, including, historical, suspense, romance, and young adult. Some of her favorite things are chocolate, cars, and her pets. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and riding down country roads in the passenger seat of her husband’s Corvette Stingray. When asked why she writes, her response is, “For the simple joy of placing words on the page!”
To connect with K.Dawn Byrd

Email: kdawnbyrd@yahoo.com

Blog: www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

Twitter: kdawnbyrd

Pinterist: kdawnbyrd

Facebook: kdawnbyrd

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLtz_kGEFFk&feature=plcp

 

DoubleIdentityCoverArt72dpiSeventeen-year old Bree has always wanted a sister. She’s shocked when she learns that her father is alive and her identical twin sister, Cassie, is coming to live with her. She can’t wait for Cassie to arrive. She just knows they’ll be best friends.
Bree soon discovers that even though they look alike, they’re totally different. Cassie is wild and impulsive. She hates Bree’s little town and everything in it, except Bree’s boyfriend, Luke. When Cassie becomes obsessed with Luke, she’ll go to any length to have him for herself.

 
Luke has a secret, which Cassie learns and uses against him. She’s off her medication and will stop at nothing. She says he’s in love with her. He says he loves Bree. Will their secrets destroy them and their relationships?

 

Get a Tribe

This summer, while I was mowing one acre of our lawn with one of those reel mowers (which gave me plenty of time for prayer) I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do with my writing. He showed me, like a movie, David selecting 5 smooth stones from the river. Well, all I can say was there was a long question and answer session over this, and since I had an acre to mow with a reel mower, it was a very long session.

I emerged from this prayer time sweaty, covered in grass clippings and filled with a mission. I felt called by God to have five polished books released before the end of the year.

And no, this was not the Texas sun going to my head. For a few days I thought that might be the case, it being July and all, but then He confirmed the word over and over to me. I needed to have five polished books released before the end of the year.

I only had one book of these five books out by this time, so I started praying, and I got working. I remember so many days on my knees confessing to Him, “I can’t do this, I can’t, but You can!”

By August I had two more books up on Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. The fourth looked like it’d be out by This the end of September (which is what happened). But what about that fifth book?

In the course of time I realized the fifth book wasn’t one that I had written, but it was my dad’s book, and I spent half of August and most of September polishing it to get it released on KDP.

Two weeks ago, I helped my dad format his book for CreateSpace, and actually had the privilege of clicking that button that approved the manuscript. As soon as I did that, an indescribable wave washed over me. God asked me to do something in my writing that would have been impossible by my natural means, something I was completely incapable of doing on my own, but through Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!! He did it through me and allowed me to feel success in simple obedience. This was a gift from Him, an expression of His grace and without a doubt I’m filled with a new sense of awe about Who He is.

There was one other gift God gave through this time. A tribe. Last year around this time I was invited to join a group called Grace & Faith Author Connection, aka GNFA. You know all about them, because, well, you’re here. What you may not know is that this group of authors helped to keep me sane, keep me focused, and keep me remembering that God asks the impossible from us so He can do it through us.

The one important bit of advice I can give to any author, but especially an indie author, is this: Get a tribe. Get people around you who know the journey and will love you through yours. Thank you for loving me through mine, GNFA!

God bless you!

Precarious Yates

Precarious Yates

Precarious Yates

Precarious Yates lives in Texas with husband, daughter, dogs, chickens, rabbit, lizard and by the time you read this some other exotic creature my husband or daughter has brought home. She had studied the plight of and worked toward the abolition of modern slavery for over a decade before sitting down to write Revelation Special Ops. She was further inspired by the work of her sister-in-law, Desirea Rodgers, who helped to found Love146, and organization that works to raise awareness about human trafficking and builds safe homes in vulnerable regions. Yates spent several years overseas as a missionary in Ireland, and also did missions work in India and the Philippines. Her passion for literature has become her means of further educating young adults of the realities of modern slavery, while producing hope through the power of Christ Jesus in us.

 

Crawling through an air duct in Queens…spending all night alone in an African jungle…that’s normal for teenage spy Hadassah EliteMichelman. She wants to join Revelation Special Ops, a Christian organization that works to rescue kids from modern slavery.
Hadassah’s life is about to get a whole lot crazier.
The spies of Revelation Special Ops are the elite of the weak. Weak because their hearts are broken for the oppressed. Elite because they keep the code.

Praying for Salvation

by June Foster

Is there anyone in your life – friend or family – that you’d love to see come to salvation? Have you been praying for this person for what seems like forever, and sometimes you ask God if He really hears your prayers? I have. And I’d like to encourage you. Don’t give up.

Let’s see what God’s word says. First of all, He wants everyone and that means the person you’re praying for, to come to Christ. 11Peter3:9 says “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Just as He waited until you were ready to receive Him, He’s waiting to save your friend or loved one when they are, and He absolutely wants them to enter into His Kingdom.

Have you been praying with someone else for that person’s salvation? Matthew 18:19 says “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” I know – God doesn’t violate a person’s free will and force them to receive salvation, but I’d say that agreement in prayer sounds like a powerful tool in seeking God.

Now Acts 16:31 says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Again, that’s no guarantee that another will be saved. But still, this statement is in the Bible and worth considering. If that person you’re praying for is a member of your family, I’d take this verse to heart. To me it indicates that there is a good possibility other people in your family will be saved when or after you do.

11Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is God-breathed.” This means it comes from God’s own mouth. So if God says something in the Word, we can trust it as truth. Pray for the person who’s on your heart and remind God what He says in His word. I believe when you storm Heaven in this way, your loved one doesn’t stand a chance to hide from God for long. I’ve seen it more than once in my own life.

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012.  June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

Unstoppable

By Dana Patrola

Start of conversation with hubby: “I have an idea for a really great story. I mean, fantastic. The kind that’ll make me – and by extension you – boatloads of money.”

His Reply: “Mm. Where are my glasses? They were here a second ago. And what’s the deal with the cable bill? They keep raising it and raising it.”

Start of conversation with writer friend (doesn’t matter which one – and keep in mind they have plenty of their own work to deal with): “I have a story idea.”

Her Reply: “Great! Tell me about it.”

If your husband doesn’t fit in this category then count yourself blessed and please read on with a heart of sympathy 😀

I hear this theme repeated in some form via computer and text almost every day. Those with boyfriends don’t generally understand because their boyfriends are still in the “Everything you do is fascinating and wonderful” stage, but those of us who are married, are faced with a frustrating and seemingly senseless dilemma: Why do our spouses resist our writing life?

I don’t know about you, but I can count on one finger the pieces I’ve written that my husband has read. I write this with every confidence that he will never see it, LOL. So I know it isn’t my work he’s opposed to. It’s the time I spend writing. But why?

There are times the topic of our writing is met with casual disregard, but often, blatant hostility. Is it because we’re talking time away from them when we could be dollar store browsing? Having a third cup of coffee at the diner? Sitting silently together because we share none of the same interests? Is it deeper? Perhaps his resistance is really to our independence – writing, after all, is something we don’t need him for. Or is his ego at stake, knowing that we could conceivably rocket to success and outshine him? While all these might be true on the surface, there is a deeper level. A spiritual level.

Let’s not forget that our gift of communication is from God, and He hasn’t bestowed it so we can write the best Christmas cards, or the occasional thank you note, but for our good and His glory. And let’s not forget the devil’s desire to keep that from happening. I’M NOT SAYING husbands are agents of the devil, but he can certainly cause some strife and hopefully cause us to wonder if it’s all worth it. It is!

The words we write are meant to affect change, and no one else can say the same thing in the same way to the same heart, as you can. We might not have our husband’s nod of approval, but God, in His love and mercy, has provided us with a band of sisters, women who have the same gift and understand the often daunting task of bringing words to life and stirring an undecided heart with a well-timed phrase.

I am so grateful to be part of this community, enjoying the ride together, until we all have boatloads of money and our husbands are bragging about how they inspired us.

About Dana Patrola

Author2

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. He is merciful and gracious and loves me beyond all human reason. He’s blessed me with a wonderful husband and three dynamic kids, and we all live in a shoe in New Jersey. (Just seeing who’s paying attention, lol)

God gave me a passion to write Christian Romance. Not the kind with a woman buttoned to the neck and a man daring no more than to hold her hand, but the contemporary kind. These books don’t contain explicit sex scenes, but my characters have real desires, struggles and choices to make.  A lot of the time they make the wrong ones.  No subject is prohibited but good always triumphs.

 

He has no wings or halo, but he’s an honest-to-goodness hero. …And his lineage is quite impressive.descended_cover_final_small

When a reclusive businessman takes an interest in Haven’s artwork, she knows it’s an answer to prayer. But Jett Cestone is an enigma with a disconcerting connection to the young women in his employ. He’s by far the most unusual man she’s ever met.
Haven is the most interesting woman to ever cross Jett’s path. But she’s too naïve and pure to learn what goes on in his home. Too bad he wants her more than he’s wanted anyone or anything in his life.

A Pastor’s Confession

by David Megill

I have a confession.
I love Christmas.
Of course, being a Christian I do love most of all what it means in that context.  I love a rousing Merry Christmas and all it entails more than a generic Happy Holidays.  The coming of Christ is truly the most startling and amazing thing in all of human history.  As a demonstration of a loving God, there is no parallel; as a demonstration of an almighty God, it shows an astounding power for a transcendent God, a God beyond time and space,  to be able to drop into humanity at a chosen time and place.
There’s no doubt that all I love about Christmas comes from this connection of course.  There would be no Christmas without Christ and no reason to celebrate anything let alone this time of year, without His salvation.
But as a pastor, I have a confession.
I love Rudolph.
And Santa, and the Grinch, or at least his little puppy.
And litlle Cindy Lou Hoo, too.
Every year I think Linus’s exposition on Christmas is one of the best sermons I hear all Christmas Season.
 I love the way other people love Christmas. I know it’s shallow and without substance for some, but not for all and  even so,  I love the totally irrational, depthless way people decide to be nice to each other on Christmas.  Sure I wish that we’d be nice to each other all year for the sake of Christ, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the one time a year certain normally nasty people become nicer.
I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come around—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving charitable pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.–Scrooge’s Nephew, Fred
I love Christmas Carol.
I love Christmas Carols too.  I love the way people are singing praises to our Lord without even knowing it: grocery stores, on the radio.  Big name stars singing worship music because it’s Christmas.  Granted sometimes it’s surreal or even a little uncomfortable, like when you watch Britney Spears sing silent night, but I can’t help but cheer at the way God glorifies Himself even among those who are hostile.
I love Christmas movies, and Christmas cookies.  I love the way Starbucks will sell you the same cookie they had a week ago, but now it looks like a polar bear.
I love those polar bears we see on the coke commercials this time of year too.  I love the way coke tries to corner the market on peace and harmony every year at this time too.
Such desperate attempts to find replacement reasons for the season are undoubtedly shallow and a little sad, but I love it.
I love it all because while Evangelicals worry that Christmas is losing it’s meaning, the average American is desperately trying to remember what the meaning was.  They look for it in family, and music, and gifts, and special shows, special music, specialness.  They look for it not because they are shallow but because they are not.  They look in shallow places only because they don’t know where else to look.
The rest of the year we have to remind them.  We have to convince them that things which are not empirical and material may still be of value.  Things like love, and good will, and faith, and hope.
I love it because all the seeming distractions actually are nothing of the sort.  For this once a year, people are free to remember that some things go beyond scientific proof: Santa Claus or Rudolph, an irrational desire to be good or nice, the pretense that food is without calories for one month of the year.  All this really reminds those of us who know the truth that what we know is good.  We remember again that the one we know is good.  We remember again that what they want we have, and what they seek we can freely reveal.  We remember that we are not mean or arrogant or controlling to want to teach them the truth of the Gospel.  And for a brief window, we may find them actually willing to  think about God as a baby in a manger.
I love Christmas because hiding behind every shallow attempt at Merry is one who was born of Mary.
About David

davidI’ve been a pastor for 20 years, and been privileged to meet many Godly, faithful people, earnest for God, diligently seeking truth, faith and love.  I’ve also witnessed self-righteousness (in myself and others), confusion, despair and the damage these things can do to God’s people both in and out of the church. Interestingly I believe both these people are looking for the same things.  The true story of the universe, and their place in it.  The value of story has been a constant them through my life.   We come to God through a story of good news, we understand Him through the story of the Bible and we look forward to the story of eternity.  Our lives are full of stories, and in this later phase of my life, I hope to help people move from confusion, despair and damage to hope, faith and life through the power of the story of the universe, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   Sometimes this story is best told in plain english, and sometimes through the infinite variety of shadows we call fiction.  So the stories I used to tell as a pastor in the pulpit I now write in hopes of reaching more people with joy, hope, faith and story.

Christmas Angel

By Suzanne Williams

I wrote Christmas Angel with three things in mind: a Christmas-time murder mystery, a historical fiction story set in my home state of Florida, and a light romance between two young people. I also had the main character, Angel Taylor, pictured in my head – a tomboy with no idea of her femininity and yet a certain charm for a boy named Elias Harper.

Raised in an all-male household, the loss of Angel’s mother at a young age caused her to form certain opinions of love and life. She’s decided what she will and won’t do. Yet faced with her attraction for Elias Harper, she has no idea how to behave and no one to ask for help. On top of that, she is plunged into the midst of a town tragedy and given responsibilities she wasn’t expecting – ever. Yet she’s learned something of herself growing up, that she has an inner strength that will see her through it.

Christmas Angel was originally slated to be part of a compilation book of Christmas mystery stories. This led to its length and word count range. However, the book idea fell apart, so I found myself with a great little story that I really liked and thought people would enjoy. I have found my niche in writing historical-fiction/romance stories. I think setting them in Florida, a spot I love and know so much about, gives them something different from what else is out there, and I hope readers will like my style of writing well enough to check out my other work, especially the books I have coming out in 2013.

BLURB:

Angel Taylor had her life all figured out until her best friend shoved Elias Harper off on her. What’s she need with a boy anyway? But Marta said he liked to dance and somehow that was appealing. However, something strange is happening in town and this right before Christmas. Is Elias involved? What is the secret he keeps from her? And what should she do when her life changes for good?

EXCERPT:

I admit Elias was exactly how Marta described him, and standing there for a moment, I forgot how to speak. His dark hair framed a square jaw with tiny whiskers sprouting on his chin. Yet it was his scowl, which awakened me from my daze.

She berated me for ten solid minutes before I got a word in. “Take a breath, Marta,” I fussed, and I slung the turkey onto the table in the barn. “I get it.”

She covered her eyes at sight of the turkey’s broken neck. “I don’t know how you can do that!”

I shrugged. “Man’s gotta eat.”

“But surely, your brothers could dress it.”

I gazed at her face, and Elias caught my eye. I puzzled at his expression. If he wasn’t totally repelled by now, he soon would be. I went back to my work on the turkey.

“They could, but they won’t. I caught it, so I have to clean it. Rule of the hunter.”

“Rule of the hunter, my eye.” Marta plopped onto a bale of hay, leaving Elias standing awkwardly before me.

I offered him the knife. “You wanna cut or shall I?”

A boyish grin lifted on his lips. “Never had a girl offer me a knife before.” He stared at the handle.

I extended the knife further. “I guess I’m not your ordinary girl. My apologies for being late.”

He took the handle, running his thumb over the smooth wood, and gave a curt nod towards the turkey. “You really shoot that?”

“Oh, she shot it.”

Our heads swiveled toward the doorway where Brian stood. “Sis is a crack shot,” he remarked.

“She’ll split your hair in half at one hundred paces.”

I raised the rifle to my shoulder and aimed just past his head. He didn’t flinch. With a laugh, I lowered it. “What do you want anyway?” I went back to plucking the turkey.

“Papa says to clean up. He’ll do the turkey.”

I wrinkled my brow. Clean up? He’d given me the day off and generally, he didn’t care what I did with my free time. “Whatever for?” I finally asked. Feathers floated around the room and stuck to my fingers.

“Gloria Pinser’s in labor, and she’s askin’ for you.”

Elias spoke up then. “Don’t tell me you’re a midwife?”

I focused on his face, and a moment passed between us. “My boy,” I said, and I patted his cheek. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me.” With that, I headed for the house.

Christmas Angel

Only 99 cents during December!CHRISTMASANGEL

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A4N7CKO

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/253416

640-DSC_3916Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.

To learn more about what she’s doing visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/ or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor.

PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION

by Lillian Duncan

My writing journey has been a long and twisted path—and I made some wrong turns along the way. But God has been with me every step of the way and He has made a way in spite of my wrong turns.

I didn’t start writing until I was forty. For the life of me, I can’t figure that one out since I always had stories in my head. Daydreams I called them. But they were very detailed with interesting characters and plots. Sometimes happy endings and sometimes not so happy.

One day I realized—hey, I’m supposed to be writing those stories down so I did.

It took me a year to finish that first manuscript and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time so I started another one and another.

Even though I was a Christian since my teens I wasn’t living a Christian lifestyle at the time. Along with starting my writing journey, I was also beginning my spiritual journey back to my Christian roots.

My first attempts at writing a novel were mystery and suspense and just like the books I read they were filled with four letter words and gratuitous sex.

When someone called me on the language, I explained that’s how bad guys talk but…I began to wonder about that and the more I prayed about it, the more uncomfortable I became.

About the same time, I got very tired of reading that same bad language and titillating sex scenes in books that would have been much better without them. But the thing that really bothered me the most with some of the mainstream books I read was the negative portrayal of God, traditional values, and Christians.

That led me to Christian fiction.

It occurred to me that you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. I wanted to be part of the solution. And a Christian fiction writer was born.

I am so thankful that my earlier “raunchy” attempts—oops—I mean mainstream suspense didn’t get published. I’m so glad I didn’t add to the problem.

DARK ALLEYS is a story about a woman who ends up homeless and alone in a dark alley on a cold winter night. She witnesses a murder while in a drunken stupor and almost becomes his second victim. She awakens in the hospital with no clear memory of how she was injured. She attempts to put her life back together but, of course, the murderer has other plans.

I wanted to write a story where the main character was the queen of underdogs and I think I succeeded. Tessa is a mess, just like the rest of us. She could give up and no one could blame her, but she doesn’t. She keeps going—putting one step in front of the other.

And some days that’s all any of us can do.

Those are the days we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

And one step at a time He will lead out of that dark alley and into His light.

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or aspeech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan

As an early Christmas gift to your readers, anyone who purchases a copy of THE CHRISTMAS STALKING can receive a FREE e-copy of either DARK ALLEYS or GEESE MATE FOR LIFE. Once you purchase it, simply go to my website (www.lillianduncan.net) and send me the order number. I will email you a copy of the book of your choice. Merry Christmas to all!!

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