I’m sitting on my lower deck with feet up, facing the woods that are just beginning to shimmer with autumn color, reflecting on where I’ve been the last eight months and where I’m going in the months ahead. So I thought I would devote this Journal Jot to those two subjects, but trust me—you do NOT want to miss next week’s Journal Jot because, baby, do I have a treat for you!
You see, one of the things I did in the last eight months was attend the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, and I learned a very important piece of information. Uh, like the full name of the model who posed for Collin on the cover of A Passion Most Pure. So, being the boy-crazy juvenile delinquent I am, of course I looked him up on Google Image and sweet saints in heaven, did my drool factor go through the roof! Trust me, girls, you really don’t want to miss next week. :)
Now that I’ve whet your appetite for something from my past (A Passion Most Pure), let me do it some more by giving you a sneak peek as to my future—specifically, my writing future. As many of you know, I just came off an 8-month sabbatical where I focused on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing again, without contracts and deadlines. Which means, of course, that I’m eight months behind in getting another book/series published, but I am ¾ of the way through book one of a new series called Isle of Hope for which I “hope” to have a contract in the near future.
Book one of this series is called Unfailing Love (working title) and I’m happy to say that my agent read both the synopsis and first chapter and absolutely loved it, much to my relief. I honestly haven’t seen her this excited since A Passion Most Pure, which is good because I am hoping that Unfailing Love will be the contemporary book of my heart like A Passion Most Pure was the historical book of my heart.
What’s really cool about this new series of mine is where it takes place. You see, I knew I wanted an island on the Eastern Seaboard, and I’ve always loved Savannah and Charleston, so I looked on a map and lo and behold, found a place called Isle of Hope, Georgia! It’s a peninsula fifteen minutes outside of Savannah that turns into an island when the tide comes in. It’s such a pretty place, that a number of movies have been filmed there, including parts of Forrest Gump and it has a very rich Civil War history.
Anyway, it’s the PERFECT setting for my new contemporary series, which is about restoration of “hope” for two close families who were devastated by the sins of the fathers. Loosely based on my own life, the heroine was a wild child who was kicked out of the house at the age of eighteen by a father she hated. Consequently, she leaves Isle of Hope, turning her back on the father she defied, the fiancé she betrayed, and best friends she’d left without ever saying goodbye.
Now, eight years later, she returns as a new Christian, determined to make amends. But because of an affair between her mother and the hero’s father who was a minister, the hero (who’d planned to become a minister himself), turns his back on God. So when the heroine returns, there’s a complete role reversal—the once-wild girl is now the good girl, and the former seminary-student hero is now the bad boy.
Of course, I will keep you updated through Journal Jots whenever I have any news about when it will be published, but here’s a glimpse of the first page of the synopsis I gave my agent for Unfailing Love.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
Isle of Hope, Georgia, Summer 2014
When it came to burning bridges, she was the Queen of Kerosene.
The last thing twenty-six-year-old Lacey Carmichael wants to do is return home after eight years to face the people she’d burned. But as a brand-new Christian, her faith compels her to make amends—be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. — Ephesians 4:32.
Of course, the issue isn’t whether she could forgive them. Nope, she’d already made her mind up on that by moving back to Isle of Hope to help her cousin Nicky plan for her wedding. The problem lies in them forgiving her— the estranged father she’d defied, the fiancé she’d ditched, and the best friends she’d turned her back on without saying goodbye.
While driving across the narrow bridge into Isle of Hope, the smell of the rich, Low country marsh captures her all over again, zipping her back eight years to the last time she saw Jack O’Bryen, her fiancé, neighbor, and brother of her best friend. Their last night before he left for seminary college was tainted by an awful fight when her father found them making out down on the dock, defiling her with names no father should ever call a daughter. “Nothing happened, sir,” Jack bit out, her father’s condemnation invoking a rare flash of temper. “Lacey’s a good girl—and I plan to make her my wife.”
Only Lacey never gave him the chance.
When Jack O’Bryen is the first person she runs into on Isle of Hope upon her return, it becomes all too clear that building bridges is far more difficult than burning them. Eyes glazed with shock, Jack’s welcome is hardly warm, a cool encounter tight with bitterness. His initial response matches his sister Maureen’s (Moe) to a scowl—once Lacey’s best friend—when he delivers the bad news to his family that Lacey Carmichael is back in town.
So … that’s my “future,” so to speak, now let’s move to the “past” of what I’ve been doing all year. And since I’ve already spent WAY too many words above, I’m going to give you a picture panorama of my year, which will follow the announcements below, so.
Hugs and have a GREAT WEEK!!
OCTOBER SALE ON BOOKS 1 & 2 IN THE “HEART OF SAN FRANCISCO” SERIES!! In honor of the October release of book 3, Surprised by Love, my publisher is offering discounts from 66-80% on the other two books, Love at Any Cost and Dare to Love Again throughout the month of October, so don’t miss out!
FREE DOWNLOAD CONTINUES!! Yes, it’s true, my debut novel A Passion Most Pure—American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Book of the Year with 1,327 five-star ratings on Amazon and 563 five-star reviews—is STILL on free download everywhere, so PLEASE PASS THE WORD!!
CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW IS STILL ON SALE!! My Irish Christmas love story, A Light in the Window—winner of three awards—is only 99 cents, so PLEASE PASS THE WORD, and here’s the video to help you! ALITW Video.
MITCH & CHARITY CHRISTMAS NOVELLA RELEASES NOVEMBER 10! WHOO-HOO … I am very excited to announce that I am part of a Seeker Historical Christmas novella collection called Hope for the Holidays that not only features a story on Mitch and Charity, but novellas by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Myra Johnson. In addition to this historical collection, The Seekers are also releasing a contemporary Hope for the Holidays collection as well, so be sure to check both out on Amazon November 10. Here’s the blurb for Mitch and Charity’s story, which is called A Whisper of Hope:
Christmas is the season of hope, which is exactly what Charity O’Connor Dennehy is counting on. Since the birth of her twins twelve years ago, she's prayed and hoped for a houseful of babies to love, but it wasn’t meant to be. With a husband dead-set against adoption, there’s barely a whisper of hope to change his mind, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … could it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?
Where I traveled this year:
To Birmingham to see my daughter Amy and son-in-law Nate, and we had a BLAST!! Then to Spokane to see my son Matt, daughter-in-law Katie, and grandkids Rory and Micah — SO FUN!
To Lake of the Ozarks this summer for a vacation:
And finally, to the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, where I saw a ton of my friends, many of which you will recognize, and a visit from a very SPECIAL friend named Bonnie Roof!
Good friends Beth Vogt, Casey Herringshaw & me.
Becky Wade, Kate Breslin, me and my WONDERFUL Revell marketing person, Michele.
Good friend, Candy Calvert, Medical Romance Author Extraordinaire!
Good friend Julie Klassen and I at the Bethany House/Revell Dinner.
Mary Connealy, Charlene Patterson of Bethany House, ACFW keynote speak Lauraine Snelling, and me at the Bethany House/Revell dinner.
Our Seeker dinner at Carmine's -- L to R: Glynna Kaye, Janet Dean, Mary Connealy, Pam Hillman, Debby Giusti, and moi.
The Seekers at the Missouri History Museum.