December 1st was an exciting day for me and five other authors with whom I’ve collaborated on several box sets. Snowflakes & Snuggles released, and the six of us breathed a sigh of relief for this awesome set finally seeing the light of day. Why? Because our writing time was plagued by writer’s block, personal health problems, family health problems, and non-stop interruptions of one sort or another. None of us were exempt from some problem or the other. But God was good and faithful, and although released a month later than originally intended, we finished with six heartwarming Christmas romances for readers to enjoy—stories that will take you on journeys through Maine, Idaho, Tennessee, Maryland, England, South Africa, and Hungary. And, as always, tempting and delicious recipes at the back of each story…this time, Christmas treats! Perhaps some of these cookies and cakes will make it to your Christmas tables this year?
This is what you’ll find to enjoy as you snuggle into the soft cushions of your sofa with your eReader while outside snow falls softly to the earth (the rest of us will just have to dream of a white Christmas). I’m including the first 200-300 words for your enjoyment, as well as a review on each book.
First stop, Moose Creek, Maine… (you can even get your very own “Moostletoe” ornament while stocks of this extra special offer last!)
It’s Christmastime in Moose Creek, Maine, and Rev. Samantha Evans and forest ranger Eric Palmer are finally getting hitched. When circumstances turn against them in the shape of a meddlesome sister, an ill family member, an old flame, and a contrary moose, will they discover that marriage is Almoosed Heaven?
“Almoosed Heaven is another winner from the pen of Jan Elder, sure to have the reader alternately laughing, crying and screaming at the characters. And yes, that includes Matilda the errant moose! This book is brimming with Christmas cheer from the get-go.” ~ Clare Revell, Author of the Flowers Can Be Fatal series
“OH DEAR.” REVEREND SAMANTHA EVANS slapped her copy of Winter Bride down on the coffee table in the church parsonage. Home sweet home. At least until her wedding day in less than a month, praise the Lord. “I am not going to buy a wedding dress trimmed in lynx fur. I’m just … not. That’s a horrible idea in more ways than I can count. I really don’t care if it’s the trendy thing to do.”
“What about faux fur?” Cecelia, Samantha’s older sister, scooted forward in the wingchair, snatched up the magazine, and flipped through the pages. She turned down a corner and handed it back to Samantha. “Take a gander at the one with the billowy sleeves. You’d look quite fetching in that little number.”
Samantha peered at the glossy photo of the model, who was too skinny for her own good. “Did you notice it was dramatically backless? Backless! First of all, not only is it inappropriate for a clergywoman to be wearing a dress cut down to her hinterlands, but in case you didn’t notice, I’m getting married next month. December. In Maine. Not the Bahamas.”
“Backless? Did I hear backless?” Eric Palmer stuck his head around the corner from the kitchen. “No one gets to see my fiancée’s ‘hinterland’ except me, and even then, not until after we’re married.”
After the antics in Maine, you’ll skip over the Atlantic (if you live in the USA) to the green countryside of England…
Trauma surgeon, Quinn Southgate, is about to marry his soul mate when his pager goes off. His bride, Liz Hastings, gives him an ultimatum—answer that bleep and the wedding is off. Whatever choice Quinn makes, the consequences will last a lifetime.
“Quinn’s Choice by Clare Revell is an emotive story of second chances and the characters too scared to take them: a hero facing conflicting professional and personal choices, a heroine unwilling to let go of past hurts, and a spunky teen with her own issues who helps keep them both on their toes.” ~ Marion Ueckermann, USA Today Bestselling Author
QUINN SOUTHGATE PERCHED ON THE edge of the pew at the front of the church. Nerves as taut as a bow string knotted his shoulders, but he would not let the tension show on his face. His palms dampened and he scowled as he wiped them on his thighs. Why was he so nervous? He knew exactly what he was doing.
It wasn’t as if he were walking into the Emergency Department unsure of what complications his patient would present with when he got them into the OR. Or how bad the accident was when the paramedics requested a doctor go out to the roadside. As much as he loved his job as a trauma surgeon and now ED consultant, the variables presented by each case were numerous, usually complicated, and required every ounce of God-given skill he possessed.
Nor did he have some place else to be a week before Christmas. He wasn’t a shopping kind of a bloke—he’d decided years ago that gift cards were the way to go, along with the obligatory pair of socks.
No, he knew exactly what was happening and why he was in church on this very wet Saturday afternoon. He was getting married.
Exchanging green for white, Winter Wishes & Snowflake Kisses will take you to the snowy foothills of East Tennessee…
When the wedding of mutual friends draws a reluctant Delaney Chambers home to King’s Gap, Tennessee, rancher Austen Brantley believes their reunion is a Christmas miracle. Tragic childhood memories make Delaney eager for a quick return to her city life. But Austen has other plans…to chase away those memories and bring Delaney home—for good.
“A wonderful Christmas story. Winter Wishes & Snowflake Kisses is written by author Mary Manners. Love Mary’s books because you can always count on a beautiful story of sweet romance and inspiration…well written with wonderful characters.” ~ Diana Montgomery
CATAPULTING THROUGH TURBULENCE AT 30,000 feet has a way of making passengers reflect on the messiness of their lives, and Delaney Chambers was no exception.
Because that’s exactly what she did as the twin engine jet made its descent toward the snow-dusted runway. The wheels hit the tarmac hard, bouncing her out of her seat despite the belt she’d cinched tight enough to stifle her breath. As the plane bumped and shivered, it hit every crevice in the pavement before the glorified tin can finally—thank every star in the heavens—sidled up to the disembarking ramp and came to a reluctant stop.
The engines throttled down to a low hum before dying altogether.
Delaney knew she should lift the window flap to confirm the landing, but her heart pounded so fast she needed a few deep breaths before she went into motion. She suffered from a moderate fear of heights—manageable under most circumstances—and a history of claustrophobia—beyond manageable under any circumstances. The pair proved paralyzing whenever she took to the air, so under normal circumstances she avoided flying like the Plague.
But there was nothing normal about the past twenty-four hours, and no denying the need to take to the sky today. The local meteorologist’s prediction of a winter storm on the city of Chicago, complete with bushels of lake-effect snow, had made the combination of her up-to-the-last-minute work schedule and the ten hour drive from her studio apartment in the Loop to Ally’s wedding in King’s Gap, Tennessee a risk she wasn’t willing to take.
On to Maryland and the city of Baltimore…
When Jamal Jennings runs into his first love, Kelly Richardson, during a homeless ministry, their dormant feelings are rekindled. He needs her help to open his bakery and she’s struggling to forgive her cheating ex-fiancé. Can they fall in love again, in spite of their past pains?
“I enjoyed reading Cinnamon Kisses! It was a vivid reminder of the verses that say that God sees the end from the beginning and that He orders the steps of a righteous man. I enjoyed reading how the lives of Kelly and Jamal were orchestrated to bring them back together 15 years after their first love ended at a time when they were both saved and more mature. I also like the reminder of the importance to forgive no matter how another hurts you! That was a big toe-cruncher.” ~ Veronica L. Knack
“YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT REX, AREN’T you?” Kelly’s best friend Camille stared at her across the breakfast table. She’d had a sleepless night, so she’d gotten up early and baked a loaf of cinnamon bread. The scent of cinnamon, spices and bacon and eggs lingered in the air. They’d just finished eating and Camille had raved about Kelly’s delicious bread.
Kelly Richardson gritted her teeth as she took another sip of coffee. Sixty days. That’s how long it’d been since she’d called off her wedding to Rexton Fulford the Third. If she’d not called it off, then she would have been getting married in a few days.
“Camille, don’t start.” She pushed her coffee cup away and sighed. She then stood and stretched and took a few deep breaths. Goodness, she was tired. The previous night she’d kept waking up, plagued with the same dream that she’d been having since she’d broken up with Rex. She’d walked in on him kissing that woman. In each version of the dream, something different happened. Sometimes she’d slapped Rex. Other times, she’d had a catfight with the beautiful woman. Sometimes Rex begged forgiveness and she’d actually found herself looking at him, wondering if she should forgive him for his transgression.
Then across to the west coast of the USA and Idaho…
He could be her Mr. Right. Only she knows she’s his Ms. Wrong.
Teacher Claire Robinson moved to Huckleberry Lake to escape the grief of losing her happily-ever-after, and no one in the welcoming Idaho community guesses her secret heartbreak.
Including Ryan Connor, who seems to think she’s “the One”. But he wants a big family, something she can’t give him. Her snark should make him forget her.
Problem is, both God and Ryan have other plans!
“Midnight Clear by Autumn Macarthur is the most delightful contemporary Christian romance. It will warm your heart whilst simultaneously tugging at your heartstrings. You will be smiling one minute and wiping tears the next. This story is one of great joy and even greater pain.” ~ Julia Wilson, Book Reviewer at Christian Bookaholic
HEAVY BOOTS THUDDED ON THE schoolroom porch, a sound Claire Robinson recognized all too well in her second winter teaching here. Someone stomping snow off their boots before coming to the door. The likely identity of the “someone” snapped her senses to instant alert.
This wasn’t Maddie, the Friday afternoon parent volunteer she’d been expecting.
Ryan Connor. It had to be. No one else thumped the snow off their boots quite the way he did. Her teeth clenched, and her eyes narrowed as she looked up from the dinosaur book she’d been reading with five-year-old Jacob.
Small heads swiveled toward the door as all sixteen of her elementary school students ignored the work she’d set before them and waited to see who’d appear. They’d probably figured those heavy steps weren’t Maddie’s, just as fast as she had.
Her volunteer parents were always welcome. In the one-room kindergarten to fifth-grade school, with just one computer, Claire appreciated all the help she could get.
Except Ryan’s. A distraction she did not need. He wasn’t a parent, and he wasn’t welcome.
At least, not by her. The kids, of course, all adored Ryan.
His smiling face appeared at the window beside the door, confirming her guess. His hand circled in a cheery wave. Beneath her heavy braid, the back of her neck prickled as her hackles rose. What was the man doing here?
The final stop in Snowflakes & Snuggles will take you from the east coast of South Africa to the intriguing streets of Budapest, Hungary…
Everyday life for Dr. Melanie Kerr had consisted of happy deliveries and bundles of joy…until her worst nightmare became reality.
Journalist and TV host Jordan Stanson has gone from one assignment to the next, but before he can take a break for Christmas, his boss has squeezed in another—uncovering the tragedy surrounding the doctor the country came to love on his show.
“Not only have I learned from these wonderful tidbits of history that Marion Ueckermann has included in A Time to Love, but she has woven the story so well, that I feel like I have actually visited Budapest, have tasted the food, and have seen the sites. This is a very touching story of failure, fears, forgiveness, and finding faith and trust when we don’t understand the bad things happening around us.” ~ Becky Smith
YOU CAN DO THIS. You’ve done it a thousand times before.
The scalpel blade glinted in the harsh light from the overhead surgical lamp. Dr. Melanie Kerr tightened her latex-gloved fingers around the steel handle, hoping none of the OR staff noticed her hand trembling.
She breathed in deep and raised her gaze to the swollen belly. Once she made the incision, there’d be no backing out, no going back. Not without risking a similar outcome to the last time she’d peered into a pregnant woman’s womb.
“How are you doing, Sandra?” she asked over the blue curtain separating her from her patient.
“N–nervous. Ex–excited,” came Sandra Wilcox’s response through chattering teeth.
Her husband, Dan, shifted his attention from Melanie back to his wife. “You’re doing great, honey. Not long now.”
Not long. Melanie swallowed back the lump that had once again risen in her throat. This was her first C-section since—
She forced her thoughts away from the memories of that fateful night twelve days ago. Perspiration tickled her forehead as the moisture obeyed gravity. Resisting the urge to wipe away the sweat with her arm, her eyes flicked toward the nurse standing beside her.
Swift to assist, the woman lifted a gauze pad with a pair of surgical forceps and dabbed Melanie’s forehead.
“Thank you.” Melanie offered a smile to her team, not that anyone could see it through the mask covering her face. Probably just as well. Who could have confidence in a doctor about to perform surgery with such a wobbly expression?
She moved the scalpel closer to her patient’s stomach, the skin stretched and taut. The quiver in her hand increased.
Speaking of hungry…look at these mouthwatering temptations on offer in Snowflakes & Snuggles…Christmas Maple Cheesecake, Mince Pies, Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes, Cinnamon Kiss Cookies, Pepparkakor, and Kürtöskalács (or Chimney Cake in English).
To celebrate the release of Snowflakes & Snuggles, this set of six novels and novellas is available at the special price of $0.99c for December only. Come January 1st, the price rises. So get your copy today. I will be gifting a copy to one reader who comments.
This will be my last blog post for this year, so I’d like to wish every one of you a blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2018.