Jill Weatherholt posted last week about stepping down from the Inspy Romance blog. I am also leaving. I’ve been here from the beginning. It was a difficult decision to leave because I have enjoyed this community so much. The readers and the other authors have made this a wonderful place to share about so many things, not just books. I’m leaving because I have found it more and more difficult to reconcile the blogging schedule with my travel schedule. Although technically, my hubby still isn’t retired, he has cut way back in his business, and he can work from anywhere. So we’ve been traveling the world with at least one overseas trip each year along with many short trips around the USA. Last year we traveled every month except one. I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my travels with you.
Twelve days from now we’ll be winging our way to Australia. We will spend about twenty days there and ten days in New Zealand. I’ll eventually share our trip on Facebook.
If you love contemporary Christian romance for a great price, you’ll love this set of novellas for 99 cents. You can purchase it on Amazon. I share this set with five other inspirational romance authors, Kristen Ethridge, Jessica Keller, Cate Nolan, Tina Radcliffe, and Cheryl Wyatt.
Love Lessons Boxset
The Blurb: “Back to School time means back to the books—in this case, six fall-themed inspirational romance novellas with a teacher twist! Join six best-selling inspirational romance authors for stories that will fill your season with faith and love.”
My novella in the set is titled: Love So Strong.
When elementary school teacher Sedona Welch sets a goal to lose fifteen pounds, she doesn’t expect to barter her tutoring services in exchange for personal training, especially with a handsome personal trainer.
Cody Dunn has all he can deal with taking care of his eight-year-old nephew, Mason. Cody finds an ally in Sedona as she helps him negotiate the guardianship of this troubled boy. But he doesn’t anticipate the attraction to his nephew’s cute little tutor.
Can well-meaning friends help this reluctant couple find a love so strong?
Here is an excerpt.
Lose fifteen pounds. The words blurred as Sedona Welch stared at the small piece of paper in her hand. She took a deep breath and folded it in half. Her goal was anonymous, but she would know. And God would know. Could she keep this promise to herself?
The little basket made its way down the row of folding chairs where she sat in the church’s all-purpose room. Smiling, the lady next to Sedona handed her the basket. She wished she felt as good about this as the smiling lady.
Instead doubt, fear, and anxiety filled Sedona’s mind. Where was her faith? Faith that God would help. Faith that her friends would help. Faith in herself.
Sedona shook away the troubling thoughts and dropped the paper into the basket. She could do this. She might have failed before, but not this time. This time would be a success.
As she listened to the closing prayer, she wondered what the other ladies had put on their papers. The Bible study leader had challenged them to step out on faith and rely on God to meet the goals they had set. Maybe that was why she had failed before. She’d been relying on herself alone.
As the gathering broke up, conversation buzzed around Sedona. She didn’t feel like talking as she picked up her purse and Bible. She wanted to make a hasty exit before anyone could ask her about her goal. Before she reached the door, someone called her name. Sedona turned.
Her friend Alyssa Bowen came running Sedona’s way. “Wait.”
Sedona manufactured a smile, hoping Alyssa wasn’t going to quiz her about the goal. “Hi. I didn’t know you were here.”
“Yup. I snuck in at the last minute.” Alyssa stopped to catch her breath. “I’m so glad I caught you.”
“What’s up?” Sedona asked.
Alyssa tucked her light-brown hair behind her ears. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you.”
“My mom has a neighbor who’s looking for a tutor for an eight-year-old boy. Would you be interested?”
“I’m not sure. I’d have to think about it.” The thought of taking on another tutoring job didn’t excite Sedona. She already had a lot on her plate with the new school year just beginning and having to learn the curriculum for a new grade. And she already had one tutoring job that filled two nights each week.
“Let me take you to lunch, and we can discuss it. Doug and the boys have ball practice, so I’m free.” Alyssa pushed open the door.
Matching Alyssa’s steps, Sedona walked toward the parking lot. Was this a test of her willpower already? “Okay, but no promises on the tutoring.”
“Fair enough.” Alyssa pointed to her car. “Let’s eat at that place over on First Avenue.”
“Sure. I’ll meet you there.” Sedona hurried off to her car and gave herself a pep talk about ordering something light.
As she walked into the restaurant with its checkerboard black-and-white floors, she sent up a silent prayer. She had to get off to a good start. She slid into the booth with the faux-leather seats and smiled as Alyssa sat across from her.
Alyssa grabbed the menus and handed one to Sedona. “So how’s the new school year going?”
“I have a pretty good class so far.” Sedona studied the menu.
“No troublemakers this year?”
Sedona chuckled. “Well, so far none of the kids has glued my paperweight to my desk.”
“Yeah, I couldn’t believe that one. Who would think a kid was out to get the teacher the first week of school?”
Sedona nodded. “I knew what I was in for with that class immediately.”
“I’m glad this year’s class seems to be better.”
“I can hope third graders are less mischievous than fifth graders.”
Alyssa laid her menu aside. “Care to share your goal?”
No. The response popped into Sedona’s mind immediately, but Alyssa was her best friend. They’d been friends since they were in elementary school when Sedona was the new kid after her parents had moved to Hallburg, Maryland, outside of Baltimore. How could she expect not to share with her?
Sedona shrugged. “You know me. Always trying to lose weight.”
“Have you ever thought about getting a personal trainer?”
“Who can afford one of those?” Sedona shook her head, not even considering such an option. “What about your goal?”
“I’m going to go back to school and get my degree.”
Sedona grinned. “That’s fantastic.”
“It won’t be easy, but Doug thinks I should go back and promised to help keep things running smoothly at home.”
“It’s good that he’s on board.”
As the waitress came to take their orders, Sedona looked for what she thought would be the healthiest choice. She ordered the grilled chicken when she’d rather have a burger and fries. Her better choice was a start in the right direction.
After the waitress left, Alyssa leaned forward, her expression serious. “Let me tell you about this tutoring opportunity.”
“Okay. You said an eight-year-old boy?”
“Yeah. The boy and his uncle have just moved in next door to my mom.”
“Boy and his uncle?”
Alyssa nodded. “Let me tell you the sad story. The boy was mistreated by his mother, who is a drug addict. The boy’s dad had skipped town when the kid was just a toddler. He was going to be sent to foster care, until the uncle stepped in.”
“Wow! That is terrible.” Sedona frowned. “Is the boy really behind in school?”
“I don’t know for sure.” Alyssa grimaced. “To be honest, the uncle hasn’t really signed on for tutoring, but my mom is trying to convince him that would help.”
Sedona didn’t know what to think. Had Alyssa’s mom butted in where she wasn’t wanted, or had the uncle asked for advice? “So how did this conversation come about?”
“The boy threw a rock and broke Mom’s window.”
“Oh wow! That’s one way to meet your new neighbor.” Sedona shook her head as the waitress delivered their food.
Alyssa offered to give thanks, and Sedona bowed her head and asked for wisdom about this situation. Obviously, this child needed some guidance. Did she want to get involved? When the prayer was over, she took a bite of her chicken. It was good, but not as good as a burger and fries.
“So what do you think?” Alyssa took a bite of her southwestern salad.
“How can you think of asking me this when the uncle isn’t even on board with the tutoring?”
“Mom was hoping you’d agree to talk to him. She suggested inviting you, the uncle, and the boy for dinner.” Alyssa gave Sedona a hopeful look.
Sedona sighed. Another invitation to eat out. Just what she didn’t need, but shouldn’t she do a good deed for an unfortunate child? “I guess it won’t hurt to talk to them.”
“Great. I’ll let Mom know, and she’ll be in touch about the date.”
Sedona quizzed Alyssa about her school plans, which included online courses, but the plight of a child who had dealt with a less-than-stellar home life intruded on her thoughts, grabbing hold of Sedona and not letting go. How could she turn away from a child in need?
Even though I won’t write a regular blog post here, I hope to keep in touch by posting comments and sharing the blog posts on social media whenever I can. If you haven’t “liked” my Facebook author page or signed up for my newsletter, I hope you will. All you have to do is click on the Facebook icon below my biography here or click on the word newsletter above. I always have a special giveaway with my newsletters, and I’ll have one last giveaway for this blog. I will give away a set of my Village of Hope books to one person who leaves a comment. I will draw the winner’s name at 9PM MST on September 20, 2017.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?