Wow! It’s here! 2022! My calendar is filling up quickly. So many exciting things keep me busy and productive. Through it all I need to remember to slow down, enjoy a good book, and spend time with friends and family. I want to make some good memories this year.
Some of my plans include:
A new library is opening in my hometown. I’ll spend a few hours a week as a librarian!
The release of Labor of Love (Book One in the new Gardens in Time series) is February 15!!! Yay!
I’m traveling to Peru with my husband (if allowed!!??!!)
Three weeks in Scotland and England with two author friends will be a true highlight.
I plan to write one novella and two novels in 2022.
Of course, I’ll be reading. My goal is 150 books—check my progress on Goodreads.
I don’t always meet my goals. Plans change. Things happen. C’est la vie. But I do have good intentions.
Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling
Release date: November 2, 2021
There’s a deadly secret in them thar hills—and gold, or so they say.
Deeply in debt to a wealthy local, Charles Sinclair, Dorothy Hodges’ father finally promises she’ll pay and in gold, no less. If only Dorothy could take to take the promises he spins out of thin air and turn them into that gold, all would be well.
With the help of a strange, rumpled man, Dorothy does manage to bring payment to one of Sinclair’s sons only to discover it won’t pay off the debt. Will the next payment be enough? The next?
When Charles Sinclair ends up dead, Dorothy is the obvious prime suspect, but Sinclair’s son isn’t so certain. Together they work to clear her name and find the real murderer of the Superstitions, but will they find the answers buried in those hills?
Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. The Lost Dutchman’s Secret offers a retelling of “Rumplestilskin” that requires more digging than a miner searching for The Lost Dutchman Mine.
Do you ever feel out of the loop, living in a world unfamiliar to you? I watch the news and wonder at the bizarre and often horrific events, some creeping too close to my door. My cozy, comfortable world becomes my escape as the rest of the world spirals in a constant state of unrest. It’s exhausting. I want to help and don’t know where to begin.
Dorothy in The Lost Dutchman’s Secret seems to step from the 1890s to the 1929 riotous way of life. Sheltered and hidden from the shenanigans of real time, she is bombarded with the truth of greed and profit, lying and cheating. Will she escape unscathed or pay the price for her father’s sins? I grip the novel tightly as I journey with Dorothy. What choice does she have?
Thanks, Rebekah, for a riveting read.
About the Author
Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories. Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.
More from Rebekah
“They say that no one had ever seen gold ore like it before, neither have they ever since. Except in the possession of Jacob Waltz. His mine had ore of higher value and higher potency than any other mine found in Arizona…”
What if the Miller’s daughter from the tale of Rumpelstiltskin didn’t have to spin gold, but pay it? And because of an enormous debt – that she had no way of knowing the value? And her father wasn’t a miller, but an old miner with a penchant for carving animals while living in the Arizona desert? And what if, for her pains, she found herself mixed up in a murder?
And what if, somehow intermixed with this poor young woman and her troubles, came the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine?
If you don’t know about the legend of that lost mine, you should. Or I think that you should. It’s a real legend as old as the 1860’s. Except, it wasn’t lost when Jacob Waltz went bragging about it. That came later.
The mountains that house the legend are magnificent. When a friend of mine came to visit me, she and I went to explore the area around the Superstition Mountains, as well as a part of the mountains themselves. Standing in a forest of cacti and brush, the jagged rocks and sharp peaks towered above my head, while a critter skittered unseen. Beautiful isn’t quite a strong enough word to describe it. As we hiked up the mountain, making our way through a myriad of desert plant life, rocks of so many shapes and sizes, and tiny critters, I could picture Dorothy, the miner’s daughter.
The modern structures and buildings in sight, faded in my mind’s eye, and I could imagine the young woman partway up the mountain in 1929, wearing her old, faded dress, and staring out across the valley. We plotted out where her father’s shack would have stood, and I made note of a perfect crevice of rock where she might have sat to think or read. I rather found myself wishing I could live out there myself, even if living in a shack in the heat of the Arizona summer doesn’t wholly appeal to me.
When I finally got in front of my manuscript again, I could see Dorothy’s world so clearly, I can only hope I managed to capture it in the book itself. I doubt if I could have captured the beauty of those mountains in words, the sight of them as they changed colors in the sunset, or the glowing starry sky above them after dark.
As for the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine, I would be lying if I said I didn’t entertain fantasies about exploring the mountains to discover it, but we certainly did not go that far into the mountains. Besides, it was June in the Arizona desert. One does not blindly venture into the mountains on such an errand in such a time of year, unless one has a death wish. It’s rather fun to imagine though. Perhaps one day, I can go on a search – though I confess, I doubt it.
As for the book, I won’t say whether that lost goldmine is discovered or not. I’ll leave that for a reader to discover for themselves.
Merry Christmas! May you experience peace and love in 2022.
We all have our favorites this time of year, from carols to movies to treats.
I will share a few of my favorite Christmas verses. I celebrate the Advent season by reading the Christmas story and additional verses that emphasize the reason He gave His life for us.
“The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Isaiah 7:14
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children.” Galatians 4:4-5
What are your favorite Christmas verses?
Here are some more Christmas favorites:
Carol—What Child is This?
Movie—”The Santa Clause”
Tradition: Advent wreath
Food: my grandmother’s sugar cookies
Drink: egg nog
Share some of your favorites. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Trent Raines’ opinion, happily ever after has four paws and doggy breath. He spends his days isolated at the shelter, taking care of animals. Especially now that romance seems to be spreading across the islands faster than fleas in summer.
She lives a safe life behind the camera lens.
Kara Parker’s job at the animal shelter keeps her too busy to worry about romance. Sure, the boss is cute and all, but her introverted nature is perfectly happy as a photographer and website designer, thank you very much.
Even a quick trip to the mainland to retrieve a truckful of animals won’t change their minds.
Or so they think.
As Trent comes to understand Kara, he discovers there’s more than meets the eye in his quiet employee. Together, they plan a Christmas adoption festival that’s certain to empty the animal shelter in record time. Until a blast from Trent’s past puts all the animals in danger.
Sure, Trent and Kara are fine on their own, but they’re even better together.
What will it take for these soulmates conquer their fears and rescue the animals before it’s too late?
Footprints on Her Heart continues the Hooper Island stories of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
Sometimes life—all of it—feels like it is outside my comfort zone. Then, with God’s help and the wonderful gift of friends, I’m pulled to a place of interaction, challenging me to join in purposeful endeavors. In this installment of Independence Islands, personality quirts and past mistakes limit the characters’ abilities to accept forgiveness or dispose of regret. They are stuck in the aftermath of poor choices, unwilling—or unable—to move into a life of grace and joy.
As in life after a hurricane amid debris and destruction, Kara and Trent muddle through the cleanup, striving for order and normalcy. As they plan a big Christmas animal adoption event, will they heal enough to rebuild relationships and establish commitments on a firm foundation of second chances, love, and restoration?
This journey on the islands continues to be one of renewal and personal reflection. Bravo Tabitha Bouldin.
About the Author
Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.
More from Tabitha
I love animals. Always have. I was the kid who always brought home the injured animals and tried to make them better. I am the adult who feels guilty for walking by a hungry cat without feeding it.
When I write, those animal-loving tendencies come out. My characters will rescue animals, care for them, and love them unconditionally. My contributions to the Independence Islands are no different. When it began, I knew I needed a pet groomer, and the animal shelter developed from Mel’s love of animals. That’s when Trent showed up.
Trent walked onto the page as Mel’s partner in founding the animal shelter, Forever Pals, but I didn’t know he wanted his story told until several months after I started writing the series. I tried putting him off, but Trent was having none of that. He’s a bit overzealous and ready to share his love story with you, even if he’d rather I didn’t tell you about his troubled past.
The more I dove into Trent’s story, the more I realized he’s the kind of guy you’d call in the middle of the night when a stray dog shows up in your backyard. He doesn’t care. He’d upend his entire life to care for the animals, and he loves each one instantly, no questions asked. People…not so much.
I had the best time writing this story. Footprints on Her Heart is one of those books that I fell in love with from the very beginning. The story put itself on the page, all I had to do was be the engine and let it come to life. Those are my favorite. I wish every book came as easily as Footprints. Even though that isn’t the case, I’ll always hold this one as a dear friend. Kara and Trent make such a cute couple that I think they need to make an appearance in every island book I write from here on out.
We are so thankful for all your support throughout the year!
To show you how much, I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular prize of over 45+ books or a $500 Amazon gift card to buy books you love to build up that TBR pile!
Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit’s 3rd Annual Merry Christmas Readers Giveaway going on now through December 18!
Amelia Balfour has one dream. . .to tour Egypt as a travel writer. But when her wish is finally within reach, her father dies, and her malformed brother Colin depends upon her to arrange for a revolutionary surgery. Amelia returns home, hoping he’ll recover before the ship sails for Cairo. Former Navy surgeon Graham Lambert is sick—of travelling, loneliness, and especially the injustice of the world. Leaving behind the military, he partners with a renowned surgeon, the man who promises new life to Amelia’s brother. But just as the operation begins, Graham suspects the surgeon is a fraud. After a botched procedure, Colin goes mad and escapes, terrorizing their neighbor, author Mary Godwin—planting the seed for her greatest creation, Frankenstein. Can Amelia and Graham stop Colin before he destroys everyone in his path and find the tender soul still trapped inside…or will they be too late?
London 1815—Collison of past, present, and future. One decision could—would—change everything. Not a book I could read at night. It was my first read in the morning. Such a thriller to start my literary day.
Decisions, decisions. They greet us every day—spiritual, emotional, physical. In this novel the scientific and medical reach out gnarled claws to convince one about a new answer. A new invention or gadget to entice! We deal with that daily with advertisements, debates, pictures of beauty and health.
Coming out of darkness can take all forms. My darkness is different from others. My darkness is different from others. Prayers and God’s guidance will alleviate unnecessary pain and doubt. The journey in Lost in Darkness is dangerous and captivating. The novel is hard to put down. Bravo Michelle Griep!
About the Author
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan.
More from Michelle
Are You a Monster Too?
“Look at that! The fattest girl in the class is the first one to get in line for a cupcake.”
Those words, spoken to me in junior high by a clueless boy, are forever seared into my memory. Just because I wasn’t a willowy stick-figure who didn’t match up to magazine covers, I was singled out. Made to feel ashamed. Made to feel like a monster.
Have you ever felt that way?
Chances are you have. We are all poked and prodded at some point in our lives…which brings up a few questions. How do you deal with the sometimes ugly perceptions with which others view you? How do you stop trying to prove your worth to others, when in their eyes you are somehow worthless? Why does God allow such hurtful things to happen anyway?
These are the questions I attempt to tackle in my new release, Lost in Darkness. And surprisingly enough, those are the very same issues contemplated in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Now hold on. Don’t go rolling your eyeballs quite yet—which is the usual response whenever Frankenstein is mentioned.
Most people’s conception of this great piece of literature has been forever ruined by Hollywood’s green creature. You know the one, the giant with bolts sticking out of his neck and a stiff-legged walk. So not true. The essence of Shelley’s “horror” story is instead about a creature who struggles with heartfelt needs that can only be met by his creator. In this story, Shelley respectfully handles the subject of what we owe our creator and what our creator’s responsibility is toward us as the created…the very same questions we all struggle with.
As does Colin Balfour, a man with a heart of gold and a face that causes children to scream. In Lost in Darkness, he hopes to undergo a life-changing surgery that will end his self-imposed isolation. But what really happens is a life change for his sister Amelia and the surgeon who tries to prevent it all from happening. For indeed, even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart.
Genre: Christian Christmas Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling
Release date: November 26, 2021
“Time to dance, sugarplum.”
A painter at the Meyer’s Toys factory, Clarice Stahl, knows something is strange about the way so many men come and go through Mr. Meyer’s office, especially one in particular.
Then murder strikes a little too close to home and uncorks a barrel of secrets.
When mob king, Mario Topo’s, enforcer goes missing the race is on to prove he’s behind the murder. Police and mobsters alike are after Milo Natale, and he who finds Milo first might determine the enforcer’s fate.
A race through the city, a new friend… or more… a new life in the offing. Milo and Clarice must find who killed Topo’s man and why before the police arrest him for murder or Topo’s men bump him and Clarice off, too.
This next book in the Ever After Mysteries combines “The Nutcracker Suite” with a murder mystery set in the heart of 1920s Rockland.
Oh, ah! How I love a good mystery. This one is just in time for Christmas. Not your usual nutcracker. I love the lingo of the 1920s mixed with the Chicago mob and a goy factory. Powerful. Heads literally crack in this installment of Ever After Mysteries.
This author never fails to pull me into her novels. In this one I wander in and out of sinister hallways, alleys, and hotels into more mysterious trouble then I knew existed. Well, I did know from history lessons. Placing characters in the 1920s, Chicago, mobs, and guns results in a race for answers before more heads roll. You’ll have to read to find out who-dun-it. I can’t tell you or my head might be the victim of the nutcracker.
Bravo Chautona Havig!
About the Author
Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, 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
Here Are Several Fun Facts & a Secret about The Nutcracker’s Suite
You’d think that while writing a book based on the fairy tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, I’d have heard “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in my head as I wrote. Well, I guess for a brief moment I did, because at some point, someone actually says that. “Dance, sugar plum!”
But Tchaikovsky isn’t who played in my head as I wrote. Over and over, word after word, my fingers did their bourres and glissades across my keyboard to one, rather unexpected song. “Ballerina” (I prefer the version sung by Buddy Clark. You can listen HERE.)
However, there are so many elements of the original ballet’s story in mine. I thought I’d share a few of them.
Let’s talk about the cast of characters.
Clarice Stahl is our “leading lady.” It’s kind of obvious where I got her name since the original character was Clara Stahlbaum.
Clarice works for Mr. Dieter Meyer, the owner of Meyer’s Toys. He gives her the job of painting nutcrackers. So, it’s not too difficult to see the connection to Uncle Drosselmeyer who gives Clara the nutcracker, no?
All of 1925 Rockland is in the clutches of mob king, Mario Topo. For those not fluent in Italian, can you guess what “topo” is in that language? Remember… he’s the mob “king.”
But I think my favorite name of all is Emiliano (I call him Milo) Natale (Christmas in Italian… just sayin’) who is known as “the nutcracker.” He’s an enforcer for Mr. Topo, and that means he squeezes people until they crack and do what Topo wants. Let’s hope he repents!
Yes, I had a boatload of fun coming up with this stuff! How’d you guess?
I have a secret to confess about this book. I’m writing this post when I’m only about a quarter of the way done. I went to get the synopsis for this tour and went, “oops!” You see, I forgot that I’d planned to make Milo going missing a big part of the plot.
Guess who has to flex? I’d better get back to it. They need to figure out who killed our victim… and why. And before Clarice is next!
You’re invited to a stellar Christmas party! There will be games, giveaways, grand prizes, puzzles, free books, more books, and 43 amazing authors to hang out with for three days! Dec. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, this coming Thursday-Saturday.
Happy Birthday to my first book baby, Hold Me Close! I feel like Frosty marching in the streets saying Happy Birthday. In December of 2018, Celebrate Lit Publishing set the course for Hold Me Close to become a reality that others could hold and read.
The reader begins the journey in the Revolutionary Faith Series set in Charles Town, South Carolina, 1772. Elizabeth Elliott, a young energetic girl, has no idea what faces her hometown. Nor is she ready for a handsome Frenchman, Louis Lestarjette who lands in the city with no plans to stay very long.
Hold Me Close introduces characters that continue in the next four books. I knew I could not leave Elizabeth and Louis as they were in the early pages. Hopefully, you want to continue the journey with them.