Have you guys ever seen those black-and-white drawings that display an optical illusion of two different pictures? If you look at it one way, you see one picture and if you look at it… More
My oldest son has always been a picky eater.
I remember this one time when he was about eight years old and we were all sitting around the table having spaghetti. He despises tomatoes and did not want to eat the tomato sauce but, knowing the family rule, he anticipated having to eat what was on his plate. With a deep sigh, he put his hand to his ear as if he held a phone to it, and calmly said “Get my agent on the phone. I want out of this movie.”
Oh yes! What a torturous life! Spaghetti sauce!
But in all honesty, who hasn’t felt that way? Not necessarily about eating spaghetti sauce, but the desire to escape.
When life gets tough or something happens that we really don’t like, wouldn’t it be so much easier to disappear from the situation? Who wants to struggle anyway? Who wants to push through the hard times? It would be so much easier if life was just a piece of cake.
Sometimes we try to escape or run away or ignore. With the pretension of keeping the peace, we ignore problems or attempt to ‘avoid conflict’. It’s a lot easier to stay away from things we really don’t like. Who wants to ruffle feathers? Who wants to get in the middle of messes? Who wants to hurt?
Well, one person stepped into the middle of a mess when he could’ve easily gotten out of it, and he stayed to see the problem through to the end.
The story of humanity was broken with the fall of Adam. Lives were shattered, the harmonious relationship between God and man was devastated, and the only way to bridge the brokenness was if the son of God would come into the messed-up tale of history and stay in the story.
Even when it got hard. Even if it meant his death.
It’s mind-blowing! We are the ones who caused the mess, who shattered the relationship. We are the ones who rebelled. But out of love and compassion and a desire to please the father he adored, Jesus left the perfect harmony of heaven and stepped into our story. Not only did he step into it, he stayed in it until the end. That’s the important part to remember.
You see, the journey became painful. Betrayal. Abandonment. Loneliness.
The tale became torturous. Nails, thorns, lashes.
But he stayed.
I am in awe and wonder at the love of our Savior that he, the very author of the story, didn’t just pen the pages and allow the crazy characters to destroy themselves. No, he became a character, himself. Journeyed with his creations through the pain and the choices, finishing the story with us.
And the cross isn’t the end of the story, because if that was the end, it would not be the happily-ever-after ending that God promised. Nope. The real ending of the story is what we’re celebrating this Sunday. Christ’s resurrection. The rest of the journey is the glorious epilogue because everything that Adam broke in the garden was made right when Jesus rose from the dead.
If you’re broken, hurting, wandering, don’t forget, there is Someone who is in this story with you to the end.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
You have probably heard by now that I have collaborated with a few other (AMAZING) authors to bring you a Novella Collection this Spring. This collection, Timeless Love, is unique in the fact that we span several eras of history, and conclude with a contemporary romantic comedy! And today…You can officially Pre-Order Timeless Love, for just $0.99!!!! WHAT?!?!?!?! SEVEN stories for less than a dollar! And the cover…SWOON!
You may have seen that one floating around the internet in the past few weeks. TODAY, I am revealing the cover for my story in this collection. First, here is a little bit about Timeless Love…
This 7-novella romance “sampler” collection will only be available until the first week of July, and then it will be “unpublished” from sell sites. *The ebook edition of the collection will remain on the buyer’s device after the ebook is disbanded.
And then all of the novellas and short stories in the collection will be published separately in print and ebook!
Here’s the line-up for the Timeless Love Romance Collection:
Give Me Thine Heart
by Andrea Boeshaar
Early Victorian Era
The Freedom Journey
by Misty Beller
Civil War Era
The Heart of Home
by Stephenia H. McGee
A companion novel to In His Eyes
The Gilded Age
by Dawn Crandall
An Everstone Chronicles Novella
1893: Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
Teach Me to Love
by Kari Trumbo
A Brothers of Belle Fourche Novella
1899: Belle Fourche, South Dakota
by Pepper Basham
Bookishly Ever After
by Sarah Monzon
Current Day: Seattle, Washington
And now…are you ready? Did you notice the era that my story is set in? WWII! I have not yet published a book set in this era. I am so excited to share this story with you! And the cover, designed by the fabulous Roseanna White….
And the back blurb…
A reclusive academic
who would do anything to save her brother.
A reluctant spy
willing to risk his life to save the woman who broke his heart.
Olivia Rakes has the unique gift of observation, which suits her well since she prefers her books over the general populace, but when her brother goes MIA over France, Livy’s unique skills and her determination to save her brother force her into a world of espionage, deceit, danger…and the most frightening of all–romance.
Agent Jonathan Dawson has never forgotten his childhood friend, and first love, Livy Rakes, but since she broke his heart, he’s avoided seeing her for years…until the search for his best friend brings them both together in the most unlikely of ways.
In a world where war changes the rules of life and love, can Jonathan and Livy work together work together to unveil the mascarade before the enemy catches them?
Ahhh! I am so thrilled with how it turned out! You can see the rest of the covers in this graphic…
Click the image to Pre-Order your copy now!
Drop a comment below about this cover and/or the collection and you will be entered to win YOU CHOICE of ebook of ANY of my published books!
Winner will be selected on Monday 3/26/18. Open internationally. Void where prohibited.
Sweet, Sassy, and Scotland? How can you go wrong?
In her amazing contemporary, Five Days in Skye, Carla not only displays her talent as a writer, but pulls together two remarkable characters with the tight threads of a beautiful romance. Andrea Sullivan is broken and tries to find her savior in her work as a hospitality consultant. When a rash decision leaves her trying to salvage her job by taking the renown celebrity chef James MacDonald on as a new client, she’s determined to suffer through five days in the cold land of Skye and seal the deal.
Despite her preconceived notions, James’s genuine charm, humor, and tenderness awaken her heart to the terrifying realization…she wants to love again. But love can’t bloom in five days, can it?
Especially between two opposites…
You’ll have to find out what happens for yourself!
Let me just say that Carla’s writing is intense, clean, with powerful forward momentum. Jamie MacDonald is a hero-extraordinaire 🙂 I don’t know how she could top him. Andrea’s struggle is beautifully woven through the choices she makes and the constant battle of her heart for hope, with a lovely element of faith, gently piecing so many broken threads back together.
I loved it! And am going to have to find more of her books to read – whatever the genre 🙂
If you are interested in a book with fabulous dialogue, excellent scenery, a dashing hero, and a powerful spine of hope – this one is for you!
Review originally published 12/05/2013. Updated 3/15/2018
About the Book
Winner of the 2014 RWA RITA Award for Inspirational Romance!
Andrea Sullivan is so consumed by her hospitality consultant job that she’s forgotten what brings her joy. She dreads her new assignment–a last chance to snag a high-profile client in Scotland. Yet the lush Isle of Skye transcends her preconceptions. As does the man she must impress–the rugged, blue-eyed Scotsman James MacDonald.
He’s passionate about cooking, but after six restaurants, four cookbooks, and his own television show, he’s grown weary of the scrutiny that comes with living in the public eye.
Soon Andrea and James begin to sense these five days together may just be God’s wild invitation into deeper life…and truer love.
Author’s Note: The MacDonald Family Series was purchased by Tyndale House Publishers in early 2016. Paperback copies of the first edition are still available at some retailers. The e-book version with the new cover will be available beginning June 3, 2018, with a paperback reissue coming in 2019.
About the Author
Carla Laureano is the RITA Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.
New From Carla
Today I want to celebrate one of my favorite authors!
There’s a special reason why I want to celebrate her this month more than usual.
What is that reason, you may ask?
I get to spend a WEEKEND with her in her Kentucky cabin talking about life, writing, and Jesus!!!
Yes, I do!
And since I’m reading her newest novel, The Lacemaker, and have been an AVID fan of hers for a long time, I’m delighted to share with YOU a few of her books!
I read my first book of hers in 2010 – The Frontiersman’s Daughter. Woohoo! Can I just say…WATERFALLS!
The Colonel’s Lady held me spellbound. Oh my, the Colonel!!
Then there was her beautiful Ballantyne Legacy series. SILAS!!!
Sorry, I’m enthralled by well-done heroes.
All of her books hold a lyrical quality, as she not only uses words to communicate a story but create a world in which the reader is not only drawn into the Colonial era and landscape, but also experiences the emotions of her characters. The pages are thick with descriptions and historical depth. Her characters breathe.
And those amazing qualities are NOTHING compared to the actual author!
A southern Appalachian lady, her accent soothes the listener like being called to sit near a fire and hear her spin a yarn. Her heart for the Lord shines in her ready smile and gentle words. She encourages, creates, and inspires.
Now, I DO believe I’ve given enough hints for you to know the author I’m raving about!!
The amazing Laura Frantz!
Oh yes, indeedie!!!
I cannot wait to spend some time by her fire in her cabin listening to her calming accent, because…well, I’m a southern Appalachian writer/dreamer too.
In celebration of my wonderful excursion, I’m giving away a paper copy of Laura’s book, Courting Morrow Little.
Leave a comment with your answer to the following question to have your name put in the drawing.
Have you read any of Laura’s books?
If not, which one would you like to read?
If so, do you have a favorite?
Laura also has a few of her books on SALE right now too!
Two years ago, this story arrived in print! It’s my favorite published historical I’ve written (although I really love them all). Something about this rebel turned heroine reminds me that there is no one too far gone, no heart too entrenched in sin, that God cannot capture!
Unforgiveness leads to shame and despair but Forgiveness leads to healing and hope.
A fallen woman and a WWI doctor discover that the heart can always remember what the mind may forget and that God never forgets his own.
About the Book
September 1916 – Derbyshire, England
With her newfound faith, Catherine Dougall hopes to take the remnants of her threadbare life and make something beautiful, even if society shuns every choice she makes.
Dr. David Ross must save his war hospital from ruin, but when his notorious aunt makes an offer he can’t refuse, he must choose between his surprising affection for a reformed flirt or his dreams.
From the beautiful Derbyshire countryside to the trenches of World War One, Catherine and David must learn to trust in a God who never forgets his children and fashions beauty out of the most broken things.
Do you have a historical novel you’ve read lately that really touched your heart?
I know we have a few audio book lovers out there. The audio version of this book is incredible. Narrated by Gaynor Kelly, you can get your copy through Audible HERE!
Here is a little swoon worthy inspiration for The Thorn Keeper…
Sneak Peek from The Thorn Keeper
“Catherine! Wait, please.” She turned at the sound of her given name, which David rarely used in front of her. She stopped halfway down the hallway, almost to the patients’ rooms. He approached her, watching her face for any anger or softening, but she remained as emotionless as a Grecian statue. “Yes, Dr. Ross?” Her formal address kept a distance between them. He frowned in response. She used Michael’s Christian name, but not his?
“What happened earlier…” He stepped closer, lowering his voice from possible eavesdroppers. “I wanted to apologize for my sister’s carelessness. It was inexcusable.”
She kept her gaze on him, ushering a sobering silence, leaving him unbalanced, uncertain, and completely intrigued. “You don’t have to apologize for her. I expected her reaction.” “There is no excuse for it.” David stepped closer, almost reaching out to touch her arm. He shoved his hands into his pockets. “Regardless of your past choices and mistakes, her behavior was wrong…and surprising.”
Catherine released a ruthless chuckle. “Surprising? No, her response isn’t surprising at all. It’s exactly how I expect society to respond to someone like me. I created my reputation and must live with the consequences.” Her gaze searched his again. “Your response, however, is the surprising one.”
She turned to continue her walk, words lingering in the air, but he stopped her with a gentle tug to turn her to face him. “What do you mean? Have I done something to offend you?” “You truly have no idea?” Her smile spread wide, sweet and beautiful, disarming him as much as her statement. Her question hushed to a whisper. “Dr. Ross, you know my secrets and my reputation. In fact, you were the first person who learned of my…situation.” “But how is that surprising?”
Her expression gentled at his apparent ignorance, giving him another glimpse at her tenderness. “To all accounts I should be an outcast, ignored and reduced to the level of the meanest servant. Your kindness, your patience, and especially your offer of friendship, to someone like me…from someone like you? Of course, it’s surprising.”
“I value your friendship. Besides, you don’t deserve to suffer forever from the choices you’ve made.” She shook her head. “You see, that’s exactly it. You’re not responding as your station demands. You’re so good, certain. You’re like a rock in a storm. Steadfast.” She chuckled and dropped her head, sending a hint of lavender in his direction. “I’ve never understood that word before meeting you.” The look she gave him humbled and shocked him with alarming intensity. It was an expression of unadulterated admiration, turning his insides to mush. He stepped closer into the scent of lavender, toward the magnetizing essence surrounding her, calling his heart.
He stumbled through a reply. “I…I’ve failed in many ways to do what’s right, but this I know. You are much more than what society deems. God has a precious plan for your future.” Tenderness softened his voice, his attention drawn to those dazzling eyes. “Something beautiful, even—”
A scream broke into their conversation. A loud crash followed from the hospital room, sending David into motion. Everyone remained where they’d been before except the other two nurses cowering in a corner… And for Mr. Clayton. Heat drained from David’s face. Clayton stood in the middle of the room, with the assistance of a crutch. His wild-eyes searched the room as if for unseen enemies, and he clenched a scalpel in his fist. “I won’t be prisoner to no Fritz. Let me outta here or I’ll kill the lot of you.”
What people have been saying about The Thorn Keeper over the last two years…
Although these are fictional characters and situations, there were many times I could actually sense the Holy Spirit’s presence as part of their story as it unfolded. Very moving and authentic portrayals in this book of God’s grace, his overwhelming love, and his ability to bring beauty out of ashes. – Michelle Lunsford (Goodreads)
I loved seeing Catherine’s continued transformation and the growth of her relationship with Christ… In fact, I love inspirational fiction because it is one of the ways I am able to grow in my own relationship with Our Lord. – Lindsay Trapp (Goodreads)
Pepper takes difficult situations…and deals with the gritty reality of them. Though, it’s not all suffering and turmoil through the whole course of the book. Pepper also writes about the beauty in these difficult situations as her characters learn about God’s grace, forgiveness, and healing. – Rachael at Rachael’s Reads
A story of God’s love and His relationship with us. A story of forgiveness and redemption, compassion and service, The Thorn Keeper deserves a place in your heart and on your shelves. – Annie at Just Commonly
Such an honor to be listed alongside so many incredible authors!
Winners will be announced at the National Convention in Reno at the end of May.
I am doing something a little different for this giveaway….Since The Thorn Keeper has been out for a couple years now, there is a pretty good chance that you have read it/own it/re-read it…etc. Therefore, I am giving you the opportunity to enter for yourself OR for a friend! The winner of this giveaway will be able to choose if they want to keep the eBook, or gift it to a friend of their choice!
Giveaway ends 3/7/18 at 11:59pm EST.
They are like small, daily miracles God gives moms to make the little traumas of life a bit easier to bear. It’s an amazing thing to watch a crying child with a ‘boo boo’ suddenly smile after one brief kiss to the ‘wounded area’ and a quick slap of a band-aid.
I have a wonderful obsession with the BBC series Victoria.
Yes, the storyline is great!
Yes, the acting is wonderful!
Yes, the costuming is superb and the setting is fantastic.
But you know what makes it absolutely marvelous to me?
The relationships – particularly between Albert and Victoria.
(and, of course, Albert’s excellent side burns)
Aren’t they just adorable together? It’s even cute to know they date in real-life. No wonder the tender looks and excellent kissing scenes are so believable.
As a romance reader and writer, so many times the stories I read take place before a couple gets married. It’s the exciting, nerve-wracking, will-they-won’t-they uncertainty of the chase, attraction, fall, and, at long (or short) last, the happily-ever-after, but the wonderful thing about Victoria is that we get to go BEYOND the engagement kiss or the wedding day bliss.
We get to see the everyday romance.
A touch here. A service there. A conversation which appears mundane. Shared humor. Conflict resolution. Stolen moments in a busy schedule. Longing. Friendship. Trust. Tenderness.
And yes, it’s television, so it’s not going to be like our everyday romances, but it can give us pause to consider the beauty inherent within the little things.
I bet you can think of a few in your life.
Some of mine are – the way my husband always makes sure our kids’ have remembered to feed the dog. How on EARTH is that romantic, you may ask? Well, it shows his tender-heartedness…and tender-heartedness is romantic.
What about starting your car on a cold morning so you don’t have to go out early and scrape off the windows? I’m going to cherish you by allowing you to stay warm.
Bringing home dinner unexpectedly, I LOVE those moments! You work hard so let me take a little of the burden off tonight.
Doing dishes – seriously, I HAD to show how romantic that act was in my rom-com Just the Way You Are and my contemporary romance Charming the Troublemaker. I want to serve you because I love and appreciate you. We’re a team!
Compliments…You’re beautiful to me.
A greeting smile when you walk into the room. You mean something special.
My husband is always turning lights on for me because I’m must as comfortable in a dark room. LOL. But he wants to make sure I can see 😊 I care about you.
Running out before work to pick up Valentine’s for our youngest daughter who forgot to tell us she was having a Valentine’s party at school. That shows care and sacrifice.
Sometimes, we can get lost so much in the BIG romantic moments (or lack thereof) that we forget the everyday romances in life. Can you name a few from your life or from a television show you enjoy? Have you noticed some in others?
There’s an older couple in our church who hold hands everywhere they go.
There’s another elderly couple where the husband walks behind his wife and steadies her wobbly gait with a gentle hand to her back.
Sure, Valentine’s Day can give us:
- A reason to dress up and go to dinner.
- A free ticket to dose up on chocolate
- An excuse to avoid housework and accept someone else’s devoted service
- Or whatever the case may be
But the everyday romance starts ‘the morning after’ and the one after that…and so on. I’m not saying we shouldn’t still expect those take-your-breath-away moments, but hopefully, we’ll also recognize the sweetness of the little things too.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
In the beginning was…
It’s true. If you start with Christian (or Jewish or Muslim) history, “Genesis” even means ‘an origin, creation, or beginning’.
The Genesis of God’s story was creation.
But we can really sum up the entire Bible into one sentence.
What is the Bible about?
God rescuing His people.
A Father rescuing His children.
Pure and simple.
The BIG picture of the Bible isn’t about mighty men and women of God overcoming massive obstacles – although (with God’s strength) some of them do.
It’s not about amazing historical (and miraculous) events – although there are many.
At the heart of the Bible – it’s all about RESCUE! Rescue and love!
As a Christian, this should encourage you (and me).
Even if this last year wasn’t a year of celebration, or amazing things, in the grand scheme of things, it’s another piece to God’s BIG puzzle of rescue. His giant story of finding His lost children and bringing them back home.
There’s a great deal of comfort in the truth that All things work together for them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)
We’re looking through the lens of a camera. All we can see is the small square of site through the lens. And what we see may look like a barren, deserted, wasteland…
Until we step back from the lens and see the ‘big picture’ to realize we’re staring at a small piece of the Grand Canyon.
*I’ve included several examples of this concept in my pics for the post. If you only see a part of the picture, you’re interpretation is skewed – until you see the FULL picture. THEN you can understand how that small piece you saw through the lens, fits into the BIG picture
And our rescue is a part of His Master plan.
Because He loves us THAT much.
I want to leave you with these FABULOUS verses from I Corinthians 13, as paraphrased from The Message.
12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
May you trust God to the Big Picture of your life and Rest in His LOVE.
For more on ‘beginnings and writing’, check out my post on The Writers Alley. It’s all about the ‘beginning of stories’.
I am hosting a giveaway for my NEW SUBSCRIBERS! If you don’t receive my newsletter yet…You can sign up HERE. Your name will automatically be entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! YAY! Spread the word! Giveaway will close 2/11/18 at 11:59pm EST.
What do you think of?
Before reading The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon, I could only pull images from movies I’d seen (Hildago being one of my favorites). Sarah’s beautiful novel reintroduces me to a world and culture quite different than my own, so let’s learn a little more about this landscape, beautiful in its own way.
Sarah used Arabia as her canvas for painting her beautiful story about Karim and Hannah, two people from two cultures and faiths, who allow love to, not only save Karim’s people, but also bind their two hearts together.
Arabia is a peninsula which is framed in by the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. So…three sides of it meet water, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s like Hawaii. Arabia is known for it’s dry, dessert climate, but usually boasts a pleasant spring and autumn (my two favorite seasons). Mountain ranges run throughout it with an elevation as high as 9000 feet in some places. The combination of the rugged terrain and climate make for a perfect setting for the nomadic life Sarah’s describes.
In so many of the photos, the sands appear almost like ocean waves on a vast golden horizon. The wind shifts the sands, changing the scenery with a sky that modulates from amethyst mountains, copper skies, jagged peaks, golden sands, and aqua seas. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Though, from what I understand, it’s not for the faint of heart or the lover-of-cold-weather or rain 😉
Sarah recreates this unpredictable and vast landscape for us through her novel The Esther Paradigm. The danger, beauty, heat, and nomadic life are portrayed to the point where I could almost feel the wind whipping around the tents. You can read my full review HERE.
Have you ever watched a movie that featured Arabia? What would you like to see if you could go to such a place?
I love it when God gives you one of those brief moments of clarity.
Of what it really feels like to be loved.
Sometimes, we have to go through our days reminding ourselves of God’s truths in the Bible. Forcing our logic to overcome our feelings.
But occasionally, we’ll have those moments where what we know meets a moment where we ‘get it’ – the glimpse of God’s amazing love through Christ. And in that moment, we feel his freedom.
We know it. We have faith in it – but because God loves us so well and so much, He will give us moments where His love becomes clear – and it’s beautiful.
It’s the reminder that the trial is temporary. That the pain won’t last forever. That no matter how hard, how long, how difficult, how shaken, battered, or scarred – we are completely free in His love.
And it helps us see the bigger picture.
For just a moment.
But…thank the good Lord – that’s enough…