Welcome 2021!

Happy New Year! Doesn’t it feel good to be finished with 2020 and move up to the new and improved model 2021? It does to me. Last year was certainly for the memory books. Now we shall move on to bigger and brighter things.

Do you have any New Year’s Day traditions? Perhaps you make a resolution to improve an area of your life. My husband has had the same resolution since the eighties……to make no resolutions. If he doesn’t make them, then he won’t break them or such is his logic.

Me? Oh, I have a few things I like to do. The first is to write down a major prayer request. This is something that is troubling me that I have tried to give over to God. I do give it over, but then I keep sneaking back and picking it back up. Instead of leaving it in God’s highly capable hands, I decide to manage it myself, a mere human.

On New Year’s Eve or Day, I will hand write this issue on a piece of paper. Next I pray over it, and completely give it to God. Finally, I burn the paper to symbolize that I cannot and will not worry about or pick up this problem again. It is in God’s hands. He will take care of the situation according to His will.

If you do not do this, you should give it a try. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6-7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

What a great way to begin 2021…with the peace of God that passes all understanding. We don’t know why we are so at ease and peaceful in the middle of chaos, but we are. Actually, we do know. We have given the trouble over to God. He is in control of our lives.

Another thing I like to do is pray a blessing from the Bible over my husband, mother, sister, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews (even those by heart and not blood). I individually name each one of them and say this Old Testament prayer from Numbers:

‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ‘


Isn’t that a wonderful blessing? This is a perfect way to enter into any new year. I would encourage you to pray it over your family as well as to write down your burden, give it over to our most powerful God, and then burn it. These two acts will make you feel happy as you begin 2021. May God bless us as we begin the adventure called 2021.

Do you have a prayer request you would like to share with me? I would be honored to join you in praying. Just fill out the contact form.

Celebrate Lit Book Tour: Christmas Stalkings and New Year’s Revolutions

My Thoughts

Author Chautona Havig is one of my favorite Christian fiction writers. Her style is smooth and easy is read. One constant in her stories is that an inspirational message is always included. This is typically in plain sight and not hidden. I am always assured of a good read with this author. These two contemporary books are no exception. They are wonderful. How wonderful? Each receive five stars from me.

Christmas Stalkings 

This is a contemporary Christian mystery, suspense. In this book we meet Wendy and Neal. They are each unique. I was immediately invested in this story and its characters. I love that there is a mystery to solve in this captivating little book. Good things come in small packages!

Wendy is such a character, no pun intended. I was laughing out loud several times at her antics. I adored that she talked to her cats. I may or may not talk to my cat and dog, and they in turn probably answer back. Wendy is the quintessential crazy cat lady. She was delightful.

Then there is Neal. He is very interesting.  At first Neal comes across as rough around the edges. It seems he is an acquired taste and will begin to grow on you as you continue to read. 

The novella is inspiring and entertaining. It is a short read but has a big message. I highly recommend it, especially during this time of year. It get a 5 out of 5 star from me.

I received a copy from Celebrate Lit, but these are my own, true thoughts.

New Year’s Revolutions

This is book two to the novella “Christmas Stalkings.” Even though you could read it as a stand alone, I would suggest reading them in order so that you can grasp the full story.  Here we find Neal as he is beginning to fall for Wendy. There is one big problem. She is a Christian, and he is an atheist. Okay, make that a monumental problem.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in today’s world. Neal is rather a player. Without going into detail, the author shows Neal’s moral character by having him leave certain places or dates with a woman. He takes her back to her place or a hotel room.

Wendy and Neal are still the lovable two characters that we met in “Christmas Stalkings.” The author has done a great job with their characters. The dialog flows smoothly and sounds authentic. There are a few twists and turns to surprise readers.

Fortunately Neal undergoes a change of heart and transformation. It is one of the best lessons in the book. In fact, this book has many beautiful life and spiritual messages to glean. I highly recommend this book. It receives a 5 out of 5 star rating from me. I received a copy of this through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own, honest ones.

About the Book

Book: Christmas Stalkings & New Year’s Revolutions

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Fiction / Christian / Romance / Holiday

Release Date: January 29, 2017 and December 31, 2016

Christmas STalkings-smChristmas Stalkings

If her life had to transform into a TV movie, couldn’t it have been a sweet romance instead of a creepy suspense?

Wendy Nabity has redefined “crazy cat lady,” and she’s just fine with that. She’s got a tree and a stocking for reach of them, too.

All that festivity turns ominous when things begin turning up in odd places—places her fur babies couldn’t move them. The local police? They think she’s as crazy as the fleas jumping from cat to cat—or something like that.

Her neighbors aren’t much help. The nice one won’t come near her, despite his obvious interest, and the other hates her enough to torment her every chance he can. Seriously, if Neal Kirkpatrick makes one more rude demand of her, she might just start dumping the litter box on his front porch!

However, when a threatening note appears in one of the stockings, even Fairbury’s police officers have to admit no cat could have written it, and one officer takes it upon himself to do something.

Who knew Christmastime could feel so sinister?

____________________________________

New Year’s Revolutions
Abstract holiday background, beautiful shiny Christmas lights, glowing magic bokeh.

His life is spinning out of control, and his heart isn’t far behind!

Neal Kirkpatrick: project manager, staunch atheist, and town grump. Aside from an apparent soft spot for a neighborhood boy, the man has nothing to recommend him.

So when he overhears criticism from a neighbor he secretly respects, Neal decides maybe it’s time for professional help. With the same straightforward tenacity he uses in his job, Neal goes on a hunt for a therapist to help him unravel the mystery of himself.

His therapist says he’s in love, but Neal Kirkpatrick does not do relationships.

Does he?

Is any woman worth changing his entire life for?

Is He worth it?

You met him in Christmas Stalkings. Now it’s time to get to know him.

Discover what happens when the town curmudgeon steps out of his comfort zone and into a psychologist’s office to learn what’s up with his heart.

Click here to get your copy of Christmas Stalkings!

Click here to get your copy of New Year's Revolutions!

About the Author

media-headshot-sm

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Sometimes, You Just Can’t Let a Character Go

I met him in my book, A Bird Died. Neal Kirkpatrick. Grumpy, snappish, the man just seemed to look for something to grouse about. Except when it comes to a little boy in the town, and then a soft side came out that no one expected.

A few years later, I got the idea for a Christmas comedic suspense “noella” (Christmas novella), and the minute I knew what I wanted to write, I knew I’d be writing about him, too. He’d be the main character’s neighbor and always on her case about something. Instant conflict and subplot. Oh, yeah!

Something unexpected happened as I wrote the story, though. I fell in love with the cranky guy and didn’t want to let him go. Did I have time to write a book for New Year’s, too? I mean, how cool would that be? After much deliberation, I decided to go for it.

I’m kind of glad I didn’t know what kind of Christmas our family would have that year or I would never have decided to do it, and I doubt Neal’s story would still be languishing in the slush-pile of my mind (for the story of our family’s Christmas that year, you might want to check out Sand & Mistletoe).

That story turned into something unexpected. 

First, there was more to his story than I’d ever imagined. A dysfunctional family, a past that he didn’t even choose himself, and a rather immoral life I wouldn’t usually care to consider. But reality made me admit that a man with no concern for what the Lord says about things wouldn’t necessarily live the kind of life I think people should! Don’t worry, I didn’t do deep into those kinds of details! My prudish streak got pushed, but not pushed aside.

More than just “his side of the story,” New Year’s Revolutions tells the story of a man who sees himself through the lens of someone he respects and goes on a journey to see why he is as he is and if there is something inherently wrong with it or if the trouble lies with others (as he suspects).

Both a personal and a spiritual journey ensued that made me dig deep into Scripture to discover what it had to say about Jesus, relationships, and honesty. Neal’s discovery of what the Word says about things drove me to study and restudy things that I believed. We didn’t always come to the same conclusions, but it was interesting and I learned more than I would have expected to.

I hope you love Neal as much as I do. I know one thing for sure… this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 14

For Him and My Family, December 15

Get Cozy Book Nook, December 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 16

Captive Dreams Window, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 18

Holly Jo Morris, December 18

Inklings and notions, December 19

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 20

Mary Hake, December 20

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 21

deb’s Book Review, December 22

Blogging With Carol, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

CarpeDiem, December 24

Godly Book Reviews, December 25

Artistic Nobody, December 26 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, December 26 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Texas Book-aholic, December 27

Batya’s Bits, December 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of each book, Christmas Stalkings & New Year’s Revolutions!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/104a9/christmas-stalkings-new-year-s-revolutions-celebration-tour-giveaway

An Ivy Hill Christmas Celebrate Lit Book Tour

An Ivy Hill Christmas, Tales from Ivy Hill by author Julie Klassen is a wonderful holiday tale. This Christian historical Regency story should get readers in a Christmas spirit. I thought it was lovely beginning with the cover.

Set in 1822 London this is the tale of the youngest Brockwell son, Richard. He is an independent man and seems to need his family’s money more than he needs them. At the insistence of his mother he returns to their country home for Christmas with the family this year. The results are eye opening and heart warming.

Richard is a cad and has quite the reputation in London. When he comes home to Ivy Hill for a Christmas visit, he is surprised to meet childhood friend Arabella Awdry. She is familiar with his bad reputation and avoids him like the plague even though they are childhood friends.

Author Klassen has a captivating style of writing. I was immediately invested in her story. The way she writes always whisks me away from my comfortable loveseat in my study where I read to her setting. The characters were very relatable and realistic.

This story is filled with life and spiritual lessons. It is a tale of new beginnings and forgiveness. It is quirky and delightful. Expect some twists and turns in this sweet story. I was very surprised by the transformation of one character. At the end everything comes together and is neatly tied with a bow on top. This is definitely a very enjoyable read.

I highly recommend this especially for Regency lovers. This is the perfect novella for this time of year. I have rated it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: An Ivy Hill Christmas

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Christmas Historical Romance

Release Date: September, 2020

Ivy Hill Christmas

Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.

But Christmas in the country presents many surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled–and determined to have nothing to do with him.

Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with its village charm, kissing boughs, and joyous songs, change his heart . . . and hers as well?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Klassen Julie

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for 16 years and now writes full-time. Her novels have sold over 1 million copies, and three of her books, The Silent GovernessThe Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and a Christian Retailing‘s Best Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

More from Julie

My fascination with England began as a girl when I read The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre, and watched A Christmas Carol. I have now been to Great Britain several times, and my affection for the place has only grown. I love the country villages with their stone buildings and thatched roofs, the narrow, winding roads (though not driving on them), the ancient churches, friendly people, plummy accents, and history. Writing fifteen novels set there has been a real pleasure.

An Ivy Hill Christmas includes all the elements of an idyllic Olde English yuletide: A charming village setting, snowfall, mistletoe, caroling, gifts for less fortunate neighbors, and festive gatherings of friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed researching 19th century Christmas traditions and weaving them into this novella.

In the story, a confirmed bachelor is determined to remain aloof from the celebrations going on around him—and from his mother’s matchmaking schemes. But divine hope, friendship, and unexpected romance change his heart…and his mind.  I love a transformation story; don’t you?

If you’ve read the TALES FROM IVY HILL series, you will enjoy returning to the village and spending time with favorite characters. But rest assured, the novella is a standalone, meaning you can enjoy it whether or not you’ve read the other books, as these reviews attest:

“[A] standalone novella that not only beautifully captures the kindness, hope, love, and faith of Christmas but also skillfully evokes the period holiday atmosphere of Regency England.”  —Booklist

“This feel-good tale of love and redemption will delight Klassen’s fans and new readers alike.” Publishers Weekly

And if you like the novella, I think you will like the other books as well. An Ivy Hill Christmas would also make a lovely gift for a reading friend.

Finally, if you want to add a British flair to your own modern-day celebrations, buy (or make) mince tarts or Christmas pudding, place Christmas “crackers” (pull-apart gift tubes) on your table and wear the included paper crowns. Refer to Father Christmas instead of Santa; and instead of “Merry,” wish everyone a hearty, “Happy Christmas.”

Happy Christmas!

Blog Stops

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 30

Christian Bookaholic, November 30

Andrea Christenson, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 1

KarenSueHadley, December 1

Robin’s Nest, December 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 1

Blessed & Bookish, December 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Mia Reads, December 2

Wishful Endings, December 3

lakesidelivingsite, December 3

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

For Him and My Family, December 3

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

She Lives To Read, December 4

Remembrancy, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 4

Writing from the Heart Land, December 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 5

Quiet Workings, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Spoken from the Heart, December 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

Connect in Fiction, December 6

Artistic Nobody, December 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Worthy2Read, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 7

Life of Literature, December 7

For the Love of Literature, December 8

Connie’s History Classroom, December 8

Batya’s Bits, December 8

Labor Not in Vain, December 8

Hallie Reads, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Older & Smarter?, December 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 9

Betti Mace, December 9

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Faery Tales Are Real, December 10

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 11

Splashes of Joy, December 11

Vicky Sluiter, December 12

To Everything There Is A Season, December 12

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 12

Blossoms and Blessings, December 12

The Write Escape, December 12

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Bizwings Blog, December 13

Simple Harvest Reads, December 13 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, December 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Julie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of An Ivy Hill Christmas and the other three books in the Ivy Hill series, plus the winner’s choice of Bingley’s Tea!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f5/an-ivy-hill-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

Roving through Facebook posts, I have noticed many families are downsizing or canceling Thanksgiving gatherings. This is another hit from Covid. It is rough. Our normal forty to fifty person extended family celebration has been called off leaving everyone to fend for themselves.

It is our choice on how we allow this to to affect us. First instinct is to organize a pity party. You know those one person, “poor me” cry-fests. Obviously that is a poor choice. An alternative is to consider our loved ones safe at home. I bet their phones work and a Thanksgiving dinner plate would bring a smile on a face or two.

With that thought, what are you cooking? I am a Pampered Chef and have a kitchen filled with tools and recipes to make life in the kitchen easier. Flipping through some recipes, I found a few that made my mouth water. Would you like those for your file?

Our family usually fixes ham and turkey. My mother glazes the ham and everyone raves over it. This is a general recipe that gets changed often.

This salad is on the border of being a dessert. When placed in a glass bowl the presentation is striking especially when garnished with a mint leaf. It is really delicious so don’t expect left overs.

This year has presented a plethora of challenges, but we have survived. Humans need each other so let’s help one another. Kindness is under-rated. We all need to practice.

You know what else we need? Well, besides food. Yes, we need our Creator. We were made by Him and need Him. He is so good to us.

Wherever you celebrate and with whomever, I hope you take time to give thanks for all of your many blessings. Say a pray for those less fortunate and those that have an empty seat at their table.

Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to season with love.

Thanksgiving, a Time for Family, Food, and Thanks, or is it?

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. What comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving? The obvious is giving thanks. Right? We are blessed in so many ways that most of them often are overlooked. We can not give thanks for blessings we do not realize came our way. Even this year, I am certain we have all had a plethora of things for which to be thankful.

Family comes to my mind. Thanksgiving is usually a big deal in our family. We have an abundance of people, food, laughter, and noise. Everyone brings a dish or two, and sometimes more. Games are played, football watched, shopping lists made, and family catches up on what is going on in everyone’s life. I love it!

This year a few beloved members left us for their eternal home. While we are rejoicing that they are pain free and reunited with loved ones, we are saddened that they will be missed at our table this November. Others will not be able to join us due to the pandemic and quarantine. What historically is a gathering of fifty-ish family members has dwindled to considerably less than half that number. My sister is hosting, and I am going to make a cranberry salad. Do you like cranberries? I do!

I have heard that the senior generation is the glue that holds families together. There is truth to that, but our family has plenty of glue left in its bottle. My cousins are like siblings to me and their children like nieces and nephews. We always get together for holidays. Things are not normal this year which adds a new twist. Our crowd is dwindling. The rise in Covid cases makes even healthy people want to stay home and away from possible germs.

Do not allow Covid to control your family relationships. Like all relationships, family needs to be nourished. Young children need to know extended members. Adults need to continue feeding and strengthening the bond that began years ago. We need to explain why we gather as a family and why we are thankful.

Scripture says in Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Children will remember going to family gatherings and having fun with everyone. It will become a way of like for them that will get passed on to each generation.

Let’s pray the pandemic is over soon. Hopefully we will learn from what it tried to teach us. It taught me never to take family for granted. I miss seeing my family and hugging. Oh how I miss hugging.

I hope you are able to spend Thanksgiving with at least part of your family this year. Remember all of the many things that we do have even in a year that has not been the kindest to us. I am thankful for my family, friends, and especially for Jesus. What is on your list of things for which you are thankful?

The Bells of New Cheltenham Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

The Bells of New Cheltenham by author Chautona Havig is a contemporary romantic holiday fictional novella. This is a sequel to The Ghost of New Cheltenham. It can be read as a standalone novella, but I wish I had read the other one. At times I felt like an outsider at a party of close friends. I did not quit understand everything.

Havig has an unique style of writing. I am always blessed when reading her work because of the spiritual content. Her books give glory to God. She writes plain, everyday scenarios that makes things seem plausible.

The Bells of New Cheltenham is an interesting story. I love Christmas and especially the beautiful music. Her writing took me to the quaint town where I could almost hear the carolers. The contest was a lovely idea. Ms. Havig has been blessed with a writer’s imagination.

The characters are very likable. Ken is a sweetheart. He is almost too good to be true. Justine is new to town. She seems to have money problems as well as other issues. They make a nice couple except for the fact they are unequally yoked.

This is an enjoyable tale. It was not a page turner for me. I was able to easily read a chapter or two and go about my daily activities. When time permitted I would pick up the story again.

I recommend this sweet holiday romance. The message is beautiful. Anyone will enjoy it. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my own opinions.

About the Book

Book: The Bells of New Cheltenham

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian fiction, Christmas romance

Release Date: October 15, 2020

Bells of New Cheltenham-sm

Who knew that Christmas carols were love songs?

Justine Driscoll sure didn’t. Peace on earth? She’s heard of that. Holy and joyful? Something about that, too. But love songs sung by a bride about the birth of her bridegroom? That’s just weird stuff right there.

Weird or not, though, once Justine decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham.

“But what do the words mean?”

Ken Torsney is used to fighting for causes he believes in. He just never imagined he’d go from Army “warrior” to spiritual warrior in the span of one question from a stranger. Justine is like no girl he’s ever known— hungry for the gospel even as she rejects it.

He’s falling for her, and that’s bound to break his heart.

Love is in the air in New Cheltenham this Christmas. Again.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

media-headshot-sm

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona Havig

3 Things That Make My Christmas Heart Sing

I didn’t have a ghost of a chance.

The message popped up in my messenger at exactly the moment I sat down.  This is significant, because I get dozens of Facebook messages every day, and often, they get buried when a new one supersedes it. So, as you can see, it’s a near miracle that I ever saw the message at all.

The message offered me a spot in a collection of novellas—a Christmas collection.  Yep. Not a ghost of a chance.

Still, I tried to be responsible, you know?  After all, I had quite a few books due at the same time already.  Bookers on the RocksThe Last Gasp, my Christmas Lights Collection “noella,” and my CrossRoads Collection “noella.”  And those didn’t include anything wanted to write in spring or summer.

Then she added another layer of temptation. This collection had a theme.  That theme? Christmas carol inspired romances.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love music, Christmas, and specifically, Christmas music?

The other authors in the set had already made their carol selections.  She sent a list of those that had already been claimed.  I read them with great trepidation. See, I already had two carols I’d want to use in the story for this collection that I hadn’t even agreed to participate in yet.

No one had chosen “The Holly and the Ivy” or “The Bells on Christmas Day.”

That ghost slowly transformed into the ghost of my resistance.

All that remained was for me to come up with a story idea.  I mean, why join a collection if you can’t even decide what to do with it?

That’s when it happened.

There’s always this moment when the first idea germinates, sprouts, and pushes up through the fertile soil of my imagination.  My favorite moment.  And it hit me.  What if the theme for the collection was my story idea?  My character could enter a contest that requires a short story based on a Christmas carol.

And once I had that idea, the rest came in a whoosh!  Mitchell, from The Ghosts of New Cheltenham could be sick to death of this annual ghost storytelling contest and decide to create his own contest.  And then… well…

The Bells of New Cheltenham was born.

If you’ve not read The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, you’ll follow this “noella” just fine. It is meant to be a stand-alone.  However, if you want a richer reading experience, I recommend reading The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, followed by the companion short story, “The Ghastly Therapist” first. Both are available through Kindle Unlimited.  Additionally, if you send your receipt (or a screenshot of the final page of the eBook from Kindle Unlimited) for the Melodies of Christmas Love collection to chautona@chautona.com, I’ll send YOU the bonus short story—the one Justine Driscoll writes in this “noella.”

But I promised to tell you three things that make my heart sing at Christmas.

  1. The way people are often just a little kinder and a little more giving and understanding.
  2. The joy that seems to fill every part of life—family, friends, parties, presents, church services, reading, singing…
  3. The music that plays everywhere—and often sings of a Savior’s love.

What makes your heart sing at Christmas?

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 10

Texas Book-aholic, November 11

Blogging With Carol , November 11

Among the Reads, November 12

Artistic Nobody, November 12 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, November 13

Batya’s Bits, November 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Worthy2Read, November 15

For Him and My Family, November 16

Labor Not in Vain, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

lakesidelivingsite, November 17

Aryn the Libraryan, November 18

Lots of Helpers, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 20

She Lives To Read, November 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10359/the-bells-of-new-cheltenham-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Christmas Tale for Little Women Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

A Christmas Tale for Little Women by author Linda Brooks Davis is a Christian historical holiday romance novella. It is a short read and perfect for this time of year. I love holiday books and novellas.

This story is the prequel to The Awakening of Miss Adelaide. I have previously read and reviewed this brilliant story. It earned a five star rating from me. This novella is just as good.

Adelaide is an endearing character. She is talented, charming, and caring. We meet her nieces Dahlia and Camilla. Both girls are delighted to spend time with their aunt during the holiday season but are missing family.

There are precious life and spiritual messages woven throughout this poetic tale. The characters are wonderful and the writing is beautiful. You will be glad you read this sweet story.

I highly recommend this novella. It gets a 5 star rating from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book: A Christmas Tale for Little Women

Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: September 15, 2020

A Christmas Tale for Little Women

Broadview is attired for Christmas. Oklahoma heiress, Adelaide Fitzgerald, is hosting two young girls who have chosen to celebrate Christmas with Auntie Addie rather than their family in Colorado.

Adelaide must give these girls a Christmas like no other. Has she thought of everything? What would top off this holiday in an extraordinary way?

The answer lies just the other side of Rock Creek. But what will it take for her to realize it is the Christmas topper she’s been seeking?

It’s 1912, and Adelaide Fitzgerald’s view of Christmas is about to emerge as a tale for a lifetime.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

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Linda Brooks Davis is a lifelong Texan who devoted 40 years to special education as a therapist, teacher, and administrator. She retired in 2008 and now writes full time.

Linda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book One in the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian CathleenBook Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.

Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

More from Linda

Everyone worked at my home on a South Texas farm near the U.S. border with Mexico.

My playmates were children of Hispanic laborers. Language never hindered playing la casa, making mud pies, or rocking los bebésFrijoles and tamales served from stewpots over open fires tasted delicioso in either language. I learned outside their homes a broom works great on hardened soil.

Daddy paid workers on Saturdays, some by the hour, others by production. Lining up, they extended their hands, and he laid cash across their open palms. They checked the figures they had scribbled on paper scraps, trusting el patrón to correct discrepancies. Humble, grateful people, they showed respect.

My father verified immigration paperwork for those whom he housed. Others lived in the shadows, arriving around sunup and disappearing before sundown. Each evening a car or truck would rattle alongside the field, and the shadow worker would slip inside. Then the vehicle would clatter toward the horizon. And returned another day.

Occasionally, however, an alarm shouted in Spanish would sound across the field. Dropping his cotton sack, a worker would dash toward the cotton trailer in the turn row. Like hounds burrowing under a house, he and a compadre would leap over the trailer’s sides and dig a hole in the freshly picked cotton. The first crawled in, and the other covered him.

The immigration officer making his rounds would walk into the field and occasionally stomp around inside the trailer, searching for man-sized lumps. I never witnessed the discovery of a shadow worker, but I heard about them on other farms. Worst of all, I heard about tragedies. With very little oxygen between tightly packed fluffs of cotton, a man could suffocate and occasionally would. I wondered what would lead a man to take such chances and how my law-abiding, God-loving father justified his complicity. So, I asked, and he answered, “Desperation, sugar. All they want is work. A man wants to provide for his family wherever or however he can. I can’t turn them away.”

Sounded like work was a gift. Huh? my ten-year-old brain asked itself.

Years later, I understood this principle. The second chapter of Genesis shows us that God created man not to laze around all day, but to work.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.Genesis 2:15

Therefore, not only in “the beginning,” but on our farm in 1956, a man’s strength to work was God’s gift. The opportunity to work was Daddy’s gift to the men. The fruit of each man’s labor was the gift he sent home each week and the fulfillment of his need to provide for his family.

At Christmas we enjoyed preparing bushel baskets of meats, fruits and vegetables, candy and nuts, and toys for each family. I wondered about those who stayed around for a single day. Would their children find fruits, nuts, or even a piece of candy on Christmas morning?

Answers evaded me then—-as they do now—-but as a writer in my eighth decade of life, one truth I hold onto is that the strength for each day of writing and less pain in my arthritic hands and back are gifts from God. Each opportunity to write is an opportunity not only to entertain but to inspire readers to seek God in their everyday lives. Each word, unique turn of a phrase, or plot idea . . . is my gift to Him.

Protecting our safety is a far more complicated endeavor in 2020 than it was in 1956. Threats arise like none presented five decades ago, but work is still a gift. God wired it into our DNA. Come to think of it, the ideas for A Christmas Tale for Little Women and the subsequent novel—one set in the southern tip of Texas, a story about a loving, destitute man who wants only to provide for his family—are gifts.

Those diligent workers of 1956 and other years deserve a story that honors them. My gift to them and to Him is A Christmas Tale for Little Women.

Thank you, Lord.

Note: Photos from Pixabay

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 20

Blogging With Carol, October 20

Through the Lens of Scripture, October 21

Connect in Fiction, October 21

Get Cozy Book Nook, October 21

She Lives To Read, October 22

Artistic Nobody, October 22 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For Him and My Family, October 23

deb’s Book Review, October 23

Splashes of Joy, October 23

Connie’s History Classroom, October 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 25

Mary Hake, October 25

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 26

KarenSueHadley, October 27

lakesidelivingsite, October 27

Pause for Tales, October 27

Older & Smarter?, October 28

Inklings and notions, October 28

Betti Mace, October 29

Captive Dreams Window, October 29

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 30

CarpeDiem, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 31

Batya’s Bits, October 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 1

Moments, November 1

Lighthouse Academy Blog, November 1 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of all 6 eBooks in the The Women of Rock Creek Series!! (The Calling of Ella McFarland, A Christmas to Remember, A Christmas Measure of Love, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, and The Awakening of Miss Adelaide)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10264/a-christmas-tale-for-little-women-celebration-tour-giveaway

Happy Fathers Day to my Dad

Do you ever think that fathers are a bit overlooked on holidays?  Fathers Day doesn’t seem to be as big of a celebration as Mothers Day always is.  My husband told me earlier this week that he didn’t need nor want anything and for me not to buy him a gift for today.  Even some fathers don’t feel the need to celebrate Fathers Day.

That actually was me for years.  I was angry, bitter, and hurt.  When I was just twelve years old my Daddy died.  Not only did he did, but he died at home in front of me.  I did not want to go to church on Father’s Day after that.  Thankfully, I have gotten through that horrible experience but not without scars.

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A decade or so after Daddy died a blessing was given to our family.  I call him, Dad.  For forty years this remarkable, selfless man has been the leader of our family.  He is a devoted, loving husband to Mom and the best Dad that my sister and I could ever hope to have.  On top of that, he is a grandfather that is beyond compare, just ask anyone that calls him Pappaw.

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Dad is loving and caring, a good example for all fathers.  His faith and Jesus are essential in his life.  Whenever I need prayer or have a question about scripture, Dad is the first one I seek.  He is also generous.  I have watched him anonymously pay for a young family’s meal and ask the waitress to add ice cream for dessert.

Today, I miss him immensely.  We can’t celebrate Father’s Day together because he is in Rehab working to recover and come home.  I have sent flowers and am saving his presents to give him when I can see him in person.  Covid19 restrictions at the Rehab facility only allow one person each day to see Dad for an hour or so.  One person.

Until he is released I will draw on the many happy memories I have.  We have had so many good times, and there will be more to come.  Dad is a giant among ordinary men.  He will work hard to get back home where he belongs with his booming voice, quick laugh, and twinkling eyes.

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Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  You are missed at home and loved beyond what words can express.  I hope you are working hard now, because when you come home we plan on spoiling you.

No one can ever take the place of my Daddy.  Dad made his own place.  He has been a strong, loving, guiding parent to me for forty years.  Did I mention that he is selfless, too?  I owe him so much.  I love my Dad and miss him today.

My Heavenly Father gave me a couple of great men for earthly fathers.  I am fortunate to come from a Christian family.  This scripture and my fathers go perfectly together.  Abba took a bad time in my life and in the end He used it for good. Our family is so much better because of Dad.  My Dad.

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Readers, I hope you are spending today celebrating with your fathers.  As cliche as it sounds, do not take your father for granted for one minute.  Take it from someone who lost her Daddy when she was young and is now not able to see her Dad because of new visitation regulations.  I would love to be able to kiss Dad’s sweet cheek and tell him how much I love and appreciate him today.  Hopefully he knows that already.

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Holy Saturday, When Jesus was Gone

Today is the anniversary of Holy Saturday, Easter Eve or Black Saturday.  It is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  It is the seventh day of Holy Week.  When Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!” He had completed His job.  Now what?

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Where was Jesus on this day so long ago?   He was dead.  My heart breaks to write this.  Jesus was away from God and descended into hell.  Isn’t that what the Apostles Creed says?  All of what was done was for us.  The price was paid for us so that we would not owe it.

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This day is traditionally a time of reflection and waiting like Lent.  Jesus’ followers spent this day waiting after his crucifixion on Good Friday.  He had said He would rise from the dead so they would be watching for Him.  Most likely they would be recalling every word He said to them.  I would.  Wouldn’t you go over every detail?

Roman governor Pontius Pilate instructed guards to be posted at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ followers from removing the body to claim that He had risen from the dead.  Pilate sealed the tomb, secured it, and posted guards.  No one was getting in.  Jesus’ body would not be taken.

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Easter or Resurrection Sunday is tomorrow.  I know the ending of this heart wrenching account.  I also know this was God’s plan, but it still hurts.   For those of us baptized, when we were we died with Christ (going down under water) and arose with Him (rising up again).  Symbolic but not close to what my precious Savior endured.

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Scripture tells us this in Romans 6:3-11 King James Version (KJV):

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

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So, while we await Resurrection Sunday, take a moment to reflect.  Just as we were baptized and died with Jesus, we died to sin.  We should sever the bond sin has over us and sin no more.  After He died for us, let us live for Him.
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What is love?

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.  Our hearts and minds are turning to love.  How do you celebrate?  Is it a time for just you and your sweetheart?  Perhaps you include your children in the holiday and make it truly about love.

In our family it is a day centered around love for everyone. We send cards to family and buy presents for our grandkids besides spending time for ourselves.  It is not just a romantic holiday for me and my hubby.  Our pets even get a new toy.

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When our kiddos were still at home we included them.  I remember making a red heart shaped cake or a red velvet cake to have for dessert.  They would get cards and a gift or money.  Sure the hubby and I carved out time for each other to remember our love, too.

Love should be lived, spoken, and shared everyday.  Do you agree?  I am talking about true, unblemished love.  Everyone flourishes when loved, even plants.  Where do we begin to find out just what love is if we want to do this right? The Bible in First Corinthians gives us the best answer.

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In I Corinthians 13 we are provided a guideline about love.  This scripture explains all about what it is and isn’t.  As we read what love is, think about the people you love.  Is your love in line with the definition?  Are you patient with them and not easily angered?

“Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy.

It does not boast.

It is not proud.

It is not rude.

It is not self-seeking.

It is not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects,

Always hopes,

Always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

How did you do on your check list.  Me, I could stand some improving.  For one thing, patience is something that I am constantly honing.  Certainly I have failed in many of the other areas, but after writing this blog it has given me a wake up call. I need to love others better, and I will.

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Jesus commands us (not suggests) to love one another as He has loved us in John 13:34.  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Wow.  That is a high standard.  No, let me change it to the highest standard.  The gold standard.  Even though we are mere humans we can still strive for it.

God has always loved us and always will.  He has plans for each one of us and sent Jesus to redeem us.  Scripture says He loves with an everlasting love.  That is unending, pure, powerful love.  That verse is so sweet to my spirit that I drink my coffee out of this cup.

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Please join me in pondering this scripture and how we truly love others, even family.  As I ask these questions of myself, you could search for your own answers.  Am I patient, kind, hopeful, protective, and does my love persevere?  I’m not proud, envious, boastful, easily angered, rude or self-seeking, am I?  Do I keep track of when people do me wrong?  Has my love ever failed someone?  How can I improve and love others as Jesus did.

Enjoy this season of love and remember how loved you are.

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