Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Scavenger Hunt with a Huge Payoff

Do you enjoy scavenger hunts—especially ones with big prizes at stake? Then don’t miss the upcoming Online Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt, which will take place October 19th - 22nd, 2017. I’ll be participating along with 23 other authors, and the prizes will include some hefty amazon gift cards, lots of free books, and plenty of other goodies too. Along the way, you can read all sorts of interesting articles, discover the latest books by some of your favorite authors, and enter other various drawings on the side.

How To Play

If you’d like to participate, here’s how it works. At any point between noon MST on October 19th and 11:59pm MST on October 22nd, you will need to visit 24 different author blogs in a specific order and collect “clues”—text that appears in red—from each of those blogs. 

While there, you can also enjoy exclusive insider content and in many cases enter individual mini-giveaways.  Once you’ve visited all 24 stops in the correct order, you will be able to assemble the clues you’ve gathered into a specific quote or quotes, which you will then load into a form along with some other basic info.  Then a drawing will be held among qualifying entrants and the winners announced.

What’s At Stake

Official prizes for the Scavenger Hunt include:

5th Prize: $50 Amazon gift card
4th Prize: $50 Amazon gift card
3rd Prize: $50 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of each of the books listed below*

2nd Prize: $75 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of each of the books listed below*
1st Prize: $125 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of each of the books 
listed below*

* Prize books include: All She Left Behind, A Name Unknown, Imperfect Justice, A Dangerous Engagement, You're Gonna Love Me, My Daughter's Legacy, Cowboy Lawman's Christmas Reunion, Chasing Secrets, Wilderness Reunion, Four Winds, Gathering The Threads, Ghost Heart, Wings Of The Wind, The Moon Stands Still, Cardiac Event, To Wager Her Heart, Portrait Of Vengeance, Many Sparrows, Enchanted Isle, A Plain Leaving, These Healing Hills, Lone Star Christmas Rescue, Egypt's Sister, and A New Shade Of Summer.

Other prizes given by individual authors include such goodies as signed books, a tea set, candleholders, and more.  My own drawing will be for this fun Reader’s Gift Basket.

Basket includes signed copies of My Brother’s Crown and A Pocket Guide to Amish Life, a Reading Journal, an inspirational necklace, a candleholder, a porcelain box, a Titanic keychain, an Amish stationery set, and more.

But you can't enter to win until Oct. 19th,  so be sure to come back then!

Participating Authors

Authors participating in the Scavenger Hunt include:  Tamera Alexander, Lori Benton, Lisa Bergren, Mindy Starns Clark, Connilyn Cossette, Margaret Daley, Nicole Deese, Melanie Dickerson, Melanie Dobson, Lynette Eason, Ann Gabhart, Sibella Giorello, Elizabeth Goddard, Louise M. Gouge, Leslie Gould, Lisa Harris, Robin Lee Hatcher, Angela Hunt, Jane Kirkpatrick, Richard Mabry, Cara Putman, Carrie Stuart Parks, Roseanna White, and Cindy Woodsmall.  (No worries, the order in which you’ll need to visit each of their blogs will be specified when the contest opens on October 19th. )

Where to Start

The Scavenger Hunt will be hosted by author Lisa Bergren, whose site will be Stop #1. Check back here on October 19th for the specific link to the Scavenger Hunt's starting point. 

The Fine Print

• Scavenger Hunt runs from 10-19-17 at noon MT (11am PT, 1pm CT, and 2pm ET) through 10-22-17 at midnight MT (11pm PT, 1am CT, and 2am ET).
Entrants will have all weekend to complete the hunt (and to enter drawings for extra side prizes along the way.)
 All prizes are USD. Contest is open to international entries. For international winners, prizes will be given in their country’s equivalent to the USD shown.

Don’t Miss It

To receive a reminder about the Scavenger Hunt, simply follow me on Facebook or click here to sign up.

Good luck—and be sure to come back on October 19th to join in the fun of the Online Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

5 Fun Facts About Illuminated Manuscripts

An illuminated manuscript is a handcrafted book that contains not just text but also decorative elements such as initials, borders, and miniature illustrations—usually enhanced by the addition of gold or silver leaf. 

First created in the Middle Ages by specially-trained monks, illuminated manuscripts were religious in nature and included such works as the Bible, the Gospels, prayer books, etc. Eventually, however, as more people learned to read and the demand for books grew, the art of creating illuminated manuscripts was taken on by professional scribes and illuminators. Their works expanded to encompass a variety of secular subjects and included cookbooks, history books, travel books, stories, legends, and more.

Hidden Treasure
In My Daughter’s Legacy, an illuminated manuscript becomes an important part of the story, linking an unsolved murder with a search for a hidden treasure. In this excerpt, one of the characters is explaining what they’ve learned thus far about a man found murdered in an old hunting cabin in the woods: 

“We don’t know why he was in the cabin,” Maddee said, “but we do know why he was in Richmond. He was trying to track down a valuable heirloom stolen from his great-great-grandfather…an illuminated manuscript that had been passed down through his family for generations.”

Because that illuminated manuscript figures prominently in the tale, I’ve decided to share Five Fun Facts About Illuminated Manuscripts…

The most valuable illuminated manuscript, known as the Rothschild Prayerbook, sold at a Christie’s auction in 2014 for $13.6 million.    

The most well-known illuminated manuscript is most likely The Book of Kells, which was created around the year 800 and is currently on display at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.  (Note: Other famous works include Boccaccio's Decameron, the Vienna Genesis, and Dante's Divine Comedy.)

By Abbey of Kells [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The oldest surviving illuminated manuscript is believed to be an ancient Ethiopic Gospel Book known as Garima 2. It may have been created as early as the year 390.    

The largest existing medieval illuminated manuscript in the world is the Codex Gigas (Giant Book), which is 36 inches tall, 20 inches wide, 8.7 inches thick, and weighs165 pounds.
By Michal Maňas (User:snek01) (Own work)
[CC BY 2.5 (],
via Wikimedia Commons

In honor of the illuminated manuscript in My Daughter’s Legacy, I’m giving away one free copy of this fun Illuminated Manuscripts Coloring Book!

For More Info
That’s it for my five fun facts, though you may want to watch this video from the Getty Museum, which shows the process of how illuminated manuscripts were made. It’s fascinating!

And here are a few fun shopping links… 

Further Reading

Illuminated Manuscripts Masterpieces of Art

The Bible of Illuminated Letters: A Treasury of Decorative Calligraphy

Fine Art Print

Dante Alighieri Illumination : "Leaf From the Divine Comedy" 

Wall Calendar

Illuminations 2018 Wall Calendar


Parchment Silk Tie

Do It Yourself

Kolner Miniatum Gold Size Clear for Mirror Gloss Gilding on Paper

Genuine Parchment

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 2017 New Christian Fiction Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Planting Hope by Brenda S. Anderson -- Jess Beaumont is trying to get her separated parents together again by restoring the family cabin gardens that helped them fall in love. Luke Harrison inherited his Gran’s candy store, but would rather have a Vice President position in his family’s land development business—a sure sign of his father’s approval. To get the promotion, he must acquire the land on both sides of his store within five months, including the Beaumont cabin. As Luke gets to know Jess, he realizes buying the Beaumont cabin and land will nip their blossoming romance in the bud. Even worse, it could end her parents’ marriage. But if he doesn’t succeed, he could be trading his corner office for the candy store counter…for good. Is their romance doomed? Or could the classic combination of chocolate and flowers solve everything? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

An Amish Christmas Love by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman -- Fall in love this Christmas to the gentle pace of Amish courtship. In Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman, six lonely hearts find healing in the Stoltzfus homestead basement while waiting out a Christmas Eve storm. In The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston, a group of young people and a forbidden house cat bring reminders of love and hope to a grieving widow at Christmas. In Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin, A young woman’s prayer for a Christmas proposal is delayed by the appearance of her potential groom’s first love, whom me met on his rumspringa. In Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid, an Englisch woman thinks she’s breaking into the house her aenti left to her, only to discover she’s trespassing upon an Amish widower and his young daughter, whose quiet way of life tempts her to stay. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson --Maggie Marovich lost her father to Hurricane Katrina, so she’s dedicated her life to meteorology and plans never to return to the Mississippi Coast or the ship pilot she once loved—until a family crisis sends her running headlong into a storm. (Contemporary, Independently Published)

The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton -- Susanna’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington by Annette Irby -- Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancé. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and accumulated debt. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue Mikaela if she ever returned to the island single. But what will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Returning Home by Toni Shiloh -- Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings. Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker. Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from? (Contemporary, Independently Published)

All This Time by Melissa Tagg -- Ten years ago, Bear McKinley gave up everything—his freedom and his reputation—for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him. Raegan Walker is happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago—and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

HHome All Along by Beth Wiseman -- Charlotte has made a home for herself in Amish Country with Daniel. But unforeseen events rock their fragile world and may move them even further away from the life they long for. Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and community help them become strong enough to build a life together? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Mercy Triumphs by Jana Kelley -- Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God’s mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. (General from New Hope Publishers)

Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan -- Is it a midlife pregnancy or ... cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she’s sure but it isn’t easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins double wedding, the caterer cancelling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire s life is upside down. Meanwhile, shy Lacey Dawson faces the emotional effects of traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction, and rumors of gold in Chapel Springs have greedy investors clamoring to buy all the homes in town and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs ever be the same? (General from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)


A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott -- What would it have been like to be a woman, a Gentile, and someone onto whom the Holy Breath moved - to produce what became the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews in the Bible? (Historical from TSU Press [Trinity Southwest University])

The Queen of Sheba by Jill Eileen Smith -- King Solomon meets his equal in the Queen of Sheba and does his best to give her everything she seeks to find, but will he be able to give her the deepest longing of her heart? (Historical from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)

Historical Romance:

These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart -- When life takes an unexpected turn, Francine Howard finds work in the mountains as a midwife where healing and love await her. (Historical Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep -- Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation and is promised a sum of five hundred pounds if she will remain a guest at Bleakly Manor for the duration of a twelve-day Christmas celebration. Then she learns Benjamin Lane, who left her at the altar, is also in attendance. Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whomever stole his honor. Torn between money, revenge, and love, will Clara and Ben last the full twelve days at Bleakly Manor and learn what matters most at Christmas? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


When the Bishop Needs an Alibi by Vannetta Chapman -- Amish bishop Henry Lapp eagerly awaits the annual arrival of 20,000 sandhill cranes to the San Luis Valley of Colorado. But his visit to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge reveals more than just a miracle of God's creation. Hidden among the bulrushes and cattails is the deceased body of a young woman. As the local authorities attempt to unravel the mystery, Henry feels God's calling to use his extraordinary talent to aid in the investigation. His ability to draw from memory in photographic detail could help solve this puzzling case. Henry's closest friend, Emma Fisher, has always urged him to embrace his gift. As their relationship deepens, Henry realizes his involvement could put him and those he loves in the direct path of a killer, one who is willing to do anything to cover up a brutal crime, including framing the bishop. (Mystery from Harvest House)

The House Next Door by Susan Page Davis -- As Jennifer’s due date approaches, Harvey decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement? (Mystery, Independently Published)

Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel -- Detective Jasper Hollock thought he wanted nothing more than a real case. But when the man who raised him stands on the brink of suicide and mysterious incidents sabotage the factory, Jasper has 24 days to unravel the malicious plot and convince his employer that life is worth living. (Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley -- A security specialist is accused of murder and must clear her name or her career is over, but her investigation draws her into the path of a killer, and she finds herself fighting for her life. When a man from her past is called in to investigate, she may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)

Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty -- An innocent bike ride leads to a hostage situation, jeopardizing an undercover mission and two stubborn hearts. (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan -- A female attorney hires a former Army Ranger turned private investigator to help research an alleged pharmaceutical cover-up. As the case deepens, both hearts and lives become endangered. It appears someone is willing to risk everything--even murder--to keep the case from going to trial. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Uncharted Hope by Keely Brooke Keith -- Sophia Ashton must prove herself in her new job while researching the gray leaf medicine and dealing with her toxic family. (Romantic Suspense from Edenbrooke Press)


Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig -- Perhaps the only person as skilled as Cole "Tox" Russell is Alec King, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago. Now he’s back, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier. Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Witness Protection by Carol Kinsey -- After four years in witness protection, Ty Westgate’s identity has been exposed - with the help of a struggling nurse, the ex-lawyer with a new faith must work to unravel the truth behind his adversaries before he’s silenced permanently. (Thriller/Suspense, Independently Published)     Save Save Save