Well, This is Exciting!

I just received news that A Kiss is Still a Kiss is now available for pre-order! And at a nicely discounted price. 🙂 So, if you KISS Front Coverwant nice, refreshing romance stories that you can fit into your busy life, this is the book for you.

“A Kiss is Still a Kiss offers a buffet of stories to tempt the appetites of romance readers. Twenty authors, from beloved, familiar names to fresh new voices, present tales of love in a variety of genres. Experience the rush of first love, the excitement of unanticipated romance, and the joy of fading love restored. Within these pages you’ll relish a surprising and satisfying collection of styles: sweet contemporary, romantic historical, delightful regency, laugh-out-loud humor, gripping suspense, and even a few whimsical tales of fantasy and science fiction. Why? Because regardless of genre…A Kiss is Still a Kiss.”

My story included in this anthology is set in 1883, Arizona Territory. A US Marshal has saved Nielson Bennett from a lynch-mob, but isn’t about to let him escape justice—even if a bullet meant for Nielson postpones their return to town. Lydia O’Conner is not sure what to make of the man the marshal has shackled to her kitchen chair, but she has no plans on letting him free…perhaps ever.

This book also includes stories by: Amy Barkman, Crystal L. Barnes, Jan Brand, Deborah Raney, John H. Dromey, Kathleen Fuller, Eva Maria Hamilton, Patricia Iacuzzi, Mary Laufer, Gail Gaymer Martin, MaKayla Martinez, Sarah Monzon, Scott R. Parkin, Bethany Rae, Kylara SilversJan Davis Warren, Laura Ware, Deb Wuethrich, and Anna Zogg.

You can pre-order this book from NEXT STEP BOOKS!

Loving the short story–and why it feels like Christmas!

And so August comes to an end. I must say, it was a great month for me and so I thought I’d share. First was the IMG_1540abundance of vegetables from my garden. So good! I also had lots of fun at playgrounds and wading parks with my kids. Family walks. BBQs. And then on August 26th I found out that my short story, When I’m Gone, won the romance category of the “Storming the Short Story” Contest hosted by two Texas chapters of the American Christian Fiction Writers. My story about ballroom dance partners facing the WWII draft will be included in a dance themed anthology.

And life continued… My hubby took some time off work for family and we finally got tomatoes and corn out of our garden (remember we live in Canada so this is an exciting thing). To end the month off with a bang I just found out that a second short story I wrote won a contest, too! I Heard the Bells, inspired by one of my favorite Christmas songs (I’m sure you can guess the one, but if not click here) will be published; my forth anthology since February of this year.civil-war-gingerbread-recipe-225x300

To celebrate, and to get yourself in the Christmas spirit, have some of the gingerbread loaf featured in I Heard the Bells, and stay tuned for more info on my stories and their release dates.

KISS Front CoverAlso keep your eye open another one of my short stories to be released in the anthology: A Kiss is Still a Kiss that will be released on November 1st! Maybe add it to your goodreads “to read” list! 😉

Thanks for dropping by to celebrate my exciting news! And have a very merry Christmas!

 

Shackled (included in A Kiss is still a Kiss)

Arizona Territory 1883

He came west to find freedom and ended up shackled to a chair. She’s not sure she ever wants to let him go.

Just Sit Back and Read :)

For fun this week, I thought I’d let you all have a look at the first part of my short story published in the anthology Out Of The Storm.

Fire in a Storm

USSR, 1934

The stained glass shattered as the brick met the image of Christ, his hand raised to calm a storm. Shards sprayed the air, and Pavel Kozlov stepped back, wiping the mud from his palm. Lightning illuminated the century-old church, followed almost instantly by thunder. Pistol gripped, he mounted the steps. The large double doors at first refused him and he fired several rounds into the lock, leaving only twisted metal and splinters. He pushed his way in, his commander in his wake. Two other officers were stationed near the door at the rear to make sure no one slipped out.

Pavel’s boots echoed as he walked to the center of the Nave. The vast space was illuminated only by the flickering of several candles on the altar. He removed his cap and mopped the water from his face. Why did they have to do this tonight? Not that there was any option but to follow any order given him. His father’s connections had placed him among the NKVD, the Soviet Union’s secret police, and he had yet to prove himself.

“Perhaps they’ve already left.” His voice resonated off the vaulted ceiling.

“There’s one way to be sure.” Kupiev, his commanding officer, strode to the front of the chapel and took a candle. Then leaned it into a gathering of velvet drapery. The flame took to it, racing up the fabric.

What are you doing? Pavel clenched his hands. They were doing what was necessary. He had to learn to distance himself from sentiment. This wasn’t simply an architectural masterpiece, it was a symbol of organized religion and not worthy of remorse. Still, he hated fire.

Somewhere in the church, a door creaked. Father Anitoly Veselov appeared in the shadows, his priestly robes draped across his shoulders. “We have done nothing.”

“You’ve done enough,” Kupiev said. “We’re here to arrest you and your son.”

“But to destroy the church?” His face reflected the glow of the flames as they lapped at the pillars. Perspiration shone on his brow.

Kupiev’s retort was silenced by the crashing of an object through glass. There were more footsteps in the hall. Pavel darted past the priest, who leapt at him to cut him off.

“No!” Veselov’s cry shortened to a grunt as a shot rang through the church. He crumpled to the floor.

Pavel glanced back to Kupiev who was returning his gun to its place. “We have our orders,” he said. “Go.”

Yes, they had their orders, but they hadn’t included killing an old priest. Pavel swallowed back the distaste in his mouth as he continued on his course, reaching the hall just as a shadowed figure threw itself through a broken window. He choked on smoke. It seemed their men had torched the back door, and the flames were spreading quickly. Several more shots cut the night, followed by the deep rumble of thunder.

Pavel vaulted through the gap in the window, one hand pushing off of the heavy woolen coat that had been placed over the shards of glass. He met the ground as one of the other officers raced past. The man jerked, bringing his weapon to bear on Pavel.

“Avoid shooting just anyone, please,” Pavel grumbled, pushing him aside. “Where did the other priest go? That was him, wasn’t it?”

“I think so,” the officer nodded. “He disappeared behind the church.”

Pavel sprinted to the back of the building. Shivering as moisture ran down his neck, he pulled his coat’s black leather collar tight. The hiss of light rain meeting fire did little to hinder the growing blaze. He scanned the narrow canal and the aspen grove beyond. Seeing nothing, he crouched to examine the bank. The ground had been disturbed, a hint of grass ripped — probably by a shoe sliding downward. Straightening, he followed the canal to a rotted footbridge, fallen in halves to the bottom. He jumped in, sending up a spray of mud and water as his boots sank into the shallow stream. Pistol ready, he pulled up one side of the waterlogged structure. There was a feminine gasp.

“Anything?” An officer called from the edge of the grove.

I’m afraid that is all the publisher will let me share here, but feel free to visit amazon for the full book. There are some other great stories included. My favorites are The Grumpy Chronicles (an entertaining spin off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Dorthy’s Carol (just a sweet story), and Husband Hunting (western Romance).

Also, feel free to visit my pinterest board for some of visuals 🙂 and mood music!

The Kindertransport by guest author Johnnie Alexander

One of the several infamous dates of the World War II era is November 9-10, 1938. Known as Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, the horrific event was a turning point in the amount of violence unleashed on the Jewish communities throughout Germany. Synagogues, businesses, and homes were destroyed; people were killed; and about 30,000 Jews were shipped to concentration camps.

An orphanage in Berlin was also burned that infamous night. Thanks to the valiant effort of the British Jewish Refugee Committee, these children were the first to travel to England, arriving on December 2, 1938. Over the next several months, until Britain entered the war, about 10,000 children participated in the rescue operation dubbed the Kindertransport.

These young refugees arrived at the train station wearing a numbered cardboard square tied with a shoelace or string around their necks. Some children had relatives in England or pre-arranged sponsors. Those who didn’t were first taken to camps or hostels until foster families could be found for them. Older youth often went to work.

This quote comes from a page titled “Life in Britain” from the official Kindertransport Association website:

Many families, Jewish and non-Jewish, opened their homes to take in these children. Many of the children were well-treated, developing close bonds with their British hosts; however, others were mistreated or abused. A number of the older children joined the British or Australian armed forces as soon as they reached eighteen years of age and joined the fight against the Nazis. Most of the children never saw their parents again.My Knees were Jumping

When the children arrived at the train stations, they wore a numbered cardboard square around their necks tied with a shoelace or string.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for parents to send their children to a foreign country. Their own circumstances had to be horrific—and, of course, now we know that Kristallnacht was only the beginning of a concentrated effort to annihilate all Jews. Thankfully, a unified effort saved at least 10,000.

The documentary My Knees were Jumping: Remembering the Kindertransport is directed by the daughter of one of these surviving children.

If you’d like more information on this valiant rescue operation, please visit the Kindertransport Association website at http://www.kindertransport.org.

Johnnie AlexanderJohnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). Her first contemporary romance, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series; Revell), and her first novella, “The Healing Promise” (Courageous Bride Collection; Barbour), release in 2016.

She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest). She volunteers as a category coordinator for the ACFW Genesis Contest, judges various contests, and serves as marketing director for the MidSouth Christian Writers Conference.

A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area with a small herd of alpacas and Rugby, the princely papillon who trees raccoons.

Follow Johnnie Alexander:

Blog     Facebook Profile (Friend or Follow!)     Facebook Author Page     Twitter     GoodReads     Amazon Author Page

Where-Treasure-Hides-682x1024 new cover

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life.

Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow.

As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

Read the first chapter here!

Or buy:     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Christian Book Distributors     Target     Walmart

I Stand on Guard!

Happy Canada Day yesterday to all you Canadians, and to those of you from elsewhere…you should know, yesterday was Canada day!

So in celebration of this wonderful day, which was commemorated with parades, eating and fireworks, I would like to share with you my national anthem and some why I sing it so passionately this year.

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land, glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee;
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow,
Great prairies spread and Lordly rivers flow!
How dear to us thy broad domain,
From East to Western sea!
The land of hope for all who toil,
The true North strong and free!

O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies,
May Stalwart sons, and gentle maidens rise.
To keep thee steadfast thro’ the years,
From East to Western sea.
Our own beloved native land,
Our true North strong and free!

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion, in thy loving care.
Help us to find, O God, in thee,
A lasting rich reward.
As waiting for the better day,
We ever stand on guard.

God keep our land, glorious and free.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Christianity and our beliefs and values are under attack like never before. More and more, especially to the south, we hear of rights of religious conscience being revoked and prosecuted. And this is just the beginning.

Freedom-of-Worship (1)

I do pray God will keep our lands free. Free to worship God according to the dictates of my own conscience.

Martha Fern–So much I never knew!

I recently decided — aka last week — that I should write something a little different on Sundays. Something with more meaning than a novel can hope to possess. A person’s life. A real human being who lived and loved and then said farewell to the ones she loved. She said farewell to me. Martha Fern Stutz was my maternal grandma. She lived on the family farm two miles from where I grew up and I spent a lot of time between those two wonderful specks on the earth. She passed away ten years ago in January. It doesn’t feel near that long ago.

As I’ve started researching, or “phoning Mom”, it’s amazing the little things I never knew, or thought about before:

It is hard to say how concerned 33 year-old Joseph Reuben Stutz, and 29 year-old Clara McLean Coombs were with world events, on July 19th, 1914 in the small hamlet of Leavitt near Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, as they welcomed their fourth child. In Alberta, the first great wave of immigration that had spanned that last twenty years was coming to a close, and in exactly nine days the world would charge headfirst into World War I.

Fern, (as she disliked the name Martha and so went by her middle name) came into the world with the help of the local midwife “Grandma Baker” who became legendary for the hundreds and hundreds of babies she birthed without losing any of them or their mothers.

Martha Fern is the adorable girl in the middle:

grandma

 

I look forward to more Sunday evenings delving into this wonderful life that has affected mine so greatly. I’ll share a few of the most exciting tidbits here 🙂

Of Books and Babes!

On the third of February my first publication was released, a story in the anthology Out of the Storm. Exiting, but slightly anti-climactic as I waited for my printed copies of the book to arrive. To save a significant amount of money on postage, I had the shipment sent to the a US address. Because of one delay after another, they probably sat there a full month and a half, their delivery to Canada out of my power. Finally, Saturday, they made their way to my door! I must say, even after a full two months, it’s surreal seeing your words printed in a actual book — a feeling I wouldn’t mind experiencing on a semi regular basis. 😉

 

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But it can’t compete with the euphoria of a delivery that took place exactly seven days earlier…

 

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What can I say…the past week has been a good one.