CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

 

About the Book

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Click picture to purchase

Four novellas in a variety of genres—that’s all they are. Just four stories to quiet your heart and soul as you embrace the beauty of the Christmas season. Inside, you’ll find Vikki Kestell’s historical romance and a reminder that the Lord’s plans are always just what we need. You’ll be introduced to Cathe Swanson’s unlikely romance about a woman who sets out to do one good deed and is drawn into the lives of a cast of eccentric elderly people. You’ll meet April Hayman‘s and her southern madcap mystery featuring an FBI agent, a con artist or two, and a few eccentric elderly people of her own. And you’ll find Chautona Havig’s Christian fiction novella that blends comedy, suspense, with a garnish of romance.

In the hope that through these Christmas stories your heart will be lightened and brightened, we offer you this collection. Merry Christmas! And a happy, light read!

MY REVIEW

Let me start by saying, I enjoyed reading all four stories. I am not familiar with any of the authors and had no idea what to expect. I am going to be completely honest with you, it took more pages than usual for me to get into one of the books because I’m not used to reading books in that genre. Exactly why I pushed myself to read it . . . for something new and beautiful.

Heart of Joy is such a beautiful story about a woman who is trying to live her life after a heartbreaking tragedy. Joy struggles with moving forward after a devastating loss. Is it right to love again? I found her inner thoughts about Mr. O’Dell hilarious. Who knew Historical fiction could be funny. LOL There were quite a few times I found myself clutching my chest. I don’t want to give a lot of detail, but tissue is a must. Thank you, Ms. Kestell. For helping me discover something new and beautiful.

Snow Angels is a story about Lisa, an introvert who is looking forward to 6 weeks of vacation after a, lets say, peculiar experience feeding the less fortunate on Thanksgiving. Amazing what we can learn about ourselves when we help others and vice versa. Ms. Swanson created a great mixture of Bible principles and humor, which to me, is an excellent way to make lessons stick.

Trip the Light Fantastic: God never promised us an easy life and you never know what may come out of a situation. Ms. Hayman does a great job of keeping the reader interested with lots of humor, Trip, Landry, and the other characters along with a great storyline.

Christmas Stalkings: This story made me laugh out loud many times. I absolutely loved Wendy and all her cats. (I think she lives across the street from me. LOL) I appreciated her honest thoughts even though they weren’t perfect. And the quirky neighbors were an added bonus. I was drawn into the story and felt just as desperate as Wendy, who had a hard time convincing the police that something fishy was going on. Awesome story, Ms. Havig.

I give this collection 5 stars. The stories are totally different, but the love of God is in each and every one of them. Must read. You won’t be disappointed.

 

About the Author

vikkiVikki Kestell: is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage—a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”

 

 

catheimageCathe Swanson: Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels – an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.

 

 

 

april-portraitApril Hayman: Author of Heirlooms of Deception series, debuts with a novella featuring mystery, humor, and “divine intervention.”

 

 

 

 

chautonaChautona Havig: Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection.

 Guest Post from the Authors

The Christmas Lights Collection formed in the spring of 2016 with the idea of bringing four novellas together with one unifying theme: light. After all, each author in this collection has one primary focus in life: Jesus.  And in the book of John, He is called the “Light of Men.”

We thought we’d share what inspired our novellas and pray that these books are a delight and encouragement to all.

 

The Heart of Joy:  This novella is a spin-off story from Vikki Kestell’s Prairie Heritage series and features one of her most beloved characters, Joy Thoresen, from book three, Joy on This Mountain. After three years of widowhood, Joy mourns not only the loss of her husband but the child someone has kidnapped as well.  Only her faith sustains her through difficult days.

Vikki’s goal in writing is to provide FaithFilledFiction to Christians, and this novella is no exception. She worked to show that even amid our sorrow, the Lord brings good, hope-filled gifts to us even when we think we’re not ready for them. She also desired to fill in small, time-veiled gaps in Joy’s story.  The Heart of Joy puts the finishing touches on Joy’s story.

 

Snow Angels:  The idea for Snow Angels came to Cathe in slow increments. The idea of using homeless veterans originally prompted research into homeless shelters and programs, but the scope of those became too much for a novella. Still, those characters had stories Cathe wanted to tell, so she continued her research and became increasingly concerned with the plight of homeless veterans—particularly the women. For some reason, we often forget that women serve, get PTSD, and end up on the streets just like the men.

Cathe wanted to combine those realities with other misconceptions that often blind us to the person behind the façade. She wanted to demonstrate how people in otherwise normal lives also can be thrust into situations that trigger PTSD and how those people work through it. Of course, with such a heavy topic, Cathe chose to write the story with a liberal dusting of humor to lighten the mood as you read.

As her debut novel, Cathe introduces readers to characters we’ll see more of in her Great Lakes series and paves the way for her upcoming novel, Baggage Claim, releasing in early 2017.

 

Trip the Light Fantastic: April has been working on a mystery surrounding, of all things, Shakespeare’s inkwell!  So, when she was invited to be a part of the Christmas Lights Collection, April decided to do an introductory novel to her Heirlooms of Deception series and Lance “Trip” Devereaux was “born.”

April admits to loving another character, Landry, just a little bit more than the others. Yet, he could never be a main character. He’s too much of a rascal and a mastermind, so he works best from the shadows. While this book wasn’t about him directly, it could be about someone similar—someone who works in the light but has lost his way and needs help from God and some new friends. Trip the Light Fantastic is a sideways introduction into a character that April hopes will entertain readers for more books to come.

April set her series in Mississippi where her grandparents lived, so the books are rich in southern manners, mannerisms, and manors!  Well, there’s one plantation belonging to her irascible but charming con-artist.  Watch for a book set at the Crawford house in Spilled Ink, releasing in December 2016.

 

Christmas Stalkings: A couple of years ago, Chautona was on a Facebook group and a young woman admitted to having seven Christmas trees.  Intrigued, she named it the “Seven Tree Obsession” and wondered what kind of character would have seven trees—and why.  Well, the more she thought about it, the more interesting it became. After all, what would happen if ornaments got moved around when she wasn’t looking?  Who would do that?  Why?  And what could she add to complicate it?

So, when the opportunity to do the Christmas Lights Collection came, Chautona decided she wanted to do that story.  It seemed easy enough to contain into forty-thousand words.  HA!  But she got in her car, turned on her trusty voice recorder, and in the three-hour trek to her ACFW meeting, she schemed, plotted, and laughed until her sides ached at the ideas she came up with.  Half never made it into the book, of course, but that’s okay. Chautona has a prequel/sequel planned for it.  Lord willing, New Year’s Revolutions will release on December 31.  It’s the “Paul Harvey” version—the “rest of the story.”

While Christmas Stalkings does stand alone, Chautona wanted to explore Neal’s side of things a bit.  So she is. It’ll be the fastest “write-to-publication” she’s ever done, but she just had to try.  So, for NaNoWriMo, Chautona is off to try to figure out what’s up with Neal and why he’s such a crusty curmudgeon.  He’s too young for that!  And maybe, just maybe, he’ll embrace a “new life” in the New Year.

Blog Stops

November 15: Bibliophile Reviews

November 16: blogging it out

November 16: God’s Little Bookworm

November 17: A Reader’s Brain

November 17: Blogging With Carol

November 18: Reading Is My SuperPower

November 18: Proud to be an Autism Mom

November 19: Daysong Reflections

November 19: Splashes of Joy

November 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

November 20: Christian Bookaholic

November 21: Bigreadersite

November 22: A Baker’s Perspective

November 22: A Greater Yes

November 23: Back Porch Reads

November 24: Blossoms and Blessings

November 25: Reviewing Novels Online

November 25: A Path of Joy

November 26: Bukwurmzzz

November 27: Raining Butterfly Kisses

November 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

November 28: Once upon a time

November 28: Carpe Diem

 Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ae

Joy & Peace

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

There’s not much else to say after that scripture. LOL If you want joy and peace, you have to trust Him. I’m going to trust God no matter what. He’s always in control and He’s always with us. I think we forget that sometimes.

Here’s another . . .

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)

Focus on Him and His word.

Just blogging it out . . . Oh, and make your weekend great by trusting Him! 😀

Happy or sad, don’t stop praying!

For Obvious Reasons

Well, tomorrow is Election Day here in the US. It’s quite an emotional time, to say the least. The FB newsfeed seems like a battleground between candidate supporters. Yes, Antoine and I voted by mail about a week ago. It was important for us to exercise our right to vote, for obvious reasons. But our hope isn’t in who becomes the next POTUS, also for obvious reasons. LOL Our hope is in the Lord.

Trust Him! FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.

I ran across Jeremiah 17:5-8 today. Take a gander.

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.

Just blogging it out . . . Oh, and ALWAYS pray for our leaders.

Buying Love by Toni Shiloh

About the Book

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Click picture to purchase

Will money ruin everything?

Nina Warrenton is ready for the next step in her life plan—marriage, but no one has proposed. Taking matters into her hand, she places an ad in the newspaper hoping to entice a willing stranger. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money.

Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant. When he sees Nina’s monetary offer for a husband, he goes for it. He’s determined to save the legacy his dad left him, but can he let it go to prove his love for her?

Can Nina and Dwight find true love, once money has entered the equation?

My Review

Toni Shiloh, author of A Life to Live, has done it again! Her new book, Buying Love, will keep you entertained, as you follow the characters in this refreshing story about faith, patience, and finding true love.

Nina Warrenton has managed to become a successful career woman despite her less than ideal childhood. She’s independent and used to doing everything for herself. Why should finding love be any different? She places an ad in the newspaper advertising her quest to find a husband, which catches Dwight Williams attention. Is he interested in marriage or the money? In true love or debt relief? Holy matrimony or financial freedom? Only time will tell.

Dwight’s protective family and other quirky characters such as Kandi added flavor to the story. In this contemporary Christian story, we follow Nina as she realizes how important it is to depend on God for everything, including love. Sometimes being self sufficient stands in our way of seeing God for who He really is.

There are many lessons sprinkled throughout Buying Love along with a heartfelt story about a girl who is desperately looking for true love and a family to call her own. If you’re looking for a sweet story to read, one you can share with your young daughter, Buying Love is the book for you. I give this book 5 stars for its clean Christian content that will warm your heart.

About the Author

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Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Before pursuing her dream as a writer, Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where they are raising their two boys. When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, making jewelry, and spending time with her family. Toni is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) as well as the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

Guest Post From Toni Shiloh

Hi, Reader Friends!! I’m so excited to be here at Celebrate Lit for the kick off of my new release, Buying Love. I wrote this book last year for National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In one month, I managed to write a little over 50,000 words. However, that’s not why this book holds a special place in my heart. No, it’s the message in the story.

Nina Warrenton has struggled with being alone in life. Thus, she decides to take matters into her own hand and places an ad for a husband, complete with a monetary offer. What seemed like an intelligent and simplistic way to get a husband, soon proves to have a multitude of complications. Not only that, but Nina has to discover who God is in her life and the body of Christ fits into that.

Y’all have you ever felt alone in a room full of people? Or felt isolated? Or maybe you’re an orphan…whatever your background, I hope that this book shows you that God loves you. He loves you so much, He’s adopted you into the body of Christ. So if you’re a believer, we’re family. As a person who always wanted a friend and lots of family, that’s music to my soul. It’s what I wanted Nina to discover and what I hope the readers discover.

Ephesians 1:4-6, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (KJV).

 

Blog Stops

October 27: Bibliophile Reviews

October 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 28: Reading Is My SuperPower

October 29: Moments Dipped in Ink

October 30: Reviewing Novels Online

October 30: Artistic Nobody

October 31: A Baker’s Perspective

November 1: blogging it out

November 2: Christian Author: A.M. Heath

November 3: autism mom

November 3: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)

November 4: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

November 5: inklings and notions

November 6: just the write escape

November 7: Carpe Diem

November 8: Quiet Quilter

November 9: Bukwurmzzz

November 9: The Power of Words

Giveaway

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In honor of her tour, Toni is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a650

National Novel Writing Month

A bunch of my writer friends and I are about to leave this world to create a whole new one with our imaginations. It’s National Novel Writing Month!!!! 😀 (NaNoWriMo) The goal is to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s about 1667 words per day. It’s definitely doable with discipline. And guess who will do his very best to distract us. Yup . . .

the-church-lady LOL

Our skill tool is of course our brain. Satan’s battlefield is our mind. Our weapon is the word of God. As we embark on this task, we have to renew our minds to stay focused. If something should come up, we have to remember that God is with us no matter what. There’s no need to panic.

dont-panic God is always in control!

When the enemy tries to distract us (And he will) with all kinds of nutty thoughts, we have to remember Philippians 4:8-And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

The work you have to do for the Lord is valuable. Don’t let the enemy stand in your way.

I’m not exempt. I’m . . .

Just blogging it out . . . Oh and Happy NaNoWriMo!!!

Continue to pray!!!

Photo by AlexBov

 

 

 

 

 

Relax and Trust God

 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:3)

Trusting God should put us at ease like the relaxed kitten in the pic.

Just blogging it out . . .OH, and Happy Friday Night!!

Keep praying!

This Is Us

It’s hard to find a great show on TV nowadays. There are a few I watch on a regular basis that are actually surviving and thriving, like Once Upon A Time (Don’t judge me. LOL), Blackish (Love this show!), and Survivor (Yup, I still watch it.) to name a few. There are quite a few shows I thought were really good, but despite my opinion they were canceled after one season, like Stalker. Remember that one? Oh and I’ll never forget when they canceled American Dreams after the third season without a series finale. I absolutely loved American Dreams and looked forward to watching it Sunday evenings. It was a wholesome family show that was centered around two families in the 1960’s. Even though I watched it faithfully, it was canned for poor ratings. 😦

Ok, so now I absolutely love a show that started last month called, This Is Us. Here’s a synopsis copied from Wikipedia: The series follows twins Kate and Kevin along with their adopted brother Randall as their lives intertwine. Kate and Kevin were originally part of a triplet pregnancy, however their biological brother was still-born. Their parents, intent on bringing home three babies, decide to adopt another newborn (Randall) who was brought to the hospital after his father abandoned him at a fire house.

The cast is great, which includes Milo Ventimiglia, who also starred in American Dreams. HA! Imagine that. Also starring: Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, Ron Cephas Jones, Chrissy Metz, Chris Sullivan, and Susan Kelechi Watson. I won’t spoil the episodes by writing spoilers, but I will say my favorite thing about this show is that it’s centered around family. Just regular people dealing with life. No pimps, prostitutes, or basketball or hip hop wives. And so far, the ratings are good.

If you’ve watched This Is Us, tell me what you think about it. If you haven’t, give it a chance and then tell me what you think about it. LOL 😀

Just blogging it out . . .Oh, and Happy Tuesday Night!! 😀