Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Emma was a six year old schemer with plans for her uncle. OUT NOW – Autumn Dreams by Sharon McGregor

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Maggie arrives at her new teaching job, planning to board with a family she’s prepared to like. What she isn’t ready for is her landlady’s brother, Marshall, who seems to hate her on sight. She is captivated by Ellen’s six-year-old daughter Emma who is having identity problems facing the arrival of a new baby in the family. When Ellen goes into labor in the middle of a storm, Maggie must face her fears for Ellen’s sake. Along the way, she helps a family grow closer, but what about her hopes for the future? Can she get past the wall Marshall has set up? Does she really have a future here amongst the people she has grown to care for?
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Copyright 2014 © Sharon McGregor

Maggie Lawrence pushed a curling tendril of dark brown hair from her face. She looked around the empty train platform, considering her next move. The train was strangely on time, a possibility her greeter might not have considered. She picked up a suitcase in each hand and sat down on a bench facing the tracks. The day was warm and sunny with a slight breeze to keep things comfortable, a typical late August morning in a 1949 prairie town.
She had nearly dozed off in the sunshine when she heard a deep voice beside her.
“Miss Lawrence?”
She jumped up quickly, knocking one suitcase on its side as she did. “Yes.” It was then she looked up into a set of piercing blue eyes surrounded by a well-tanned face that was set, maybe not in disapproval, but certainly not in welcome.
Maggie had just barely arrived and already she was on the wrong foot. I wonder what I’ve done now? It was a question she often asked her older sister, Dora, who was usually quick to set her straight on her transgressions.
“Sorry I’m late. I had a stop to make at the hardware store first.” At least she knew where she ranked in priority. “Is this all?”
She nodded and he picked up the biggest case. She followed quickly with the smaller one.
“Mr. Thornhill...” she began.
“Matthews, actually,” he said. “I’m just standing in.”
She waited for an explanation that never came. Oh, well. She gave a shrug. At least once she got there she wouldn’t have to cope with him. She hoped the Thornhills were more communicative.
In the parking area stood a green wagon hitched to a pair of huge black horses. A dark blue sedan sat a few yards farther. I certainly hope he belongs to the car.
He stared at her with an expression of slight contempt. Was her fear of horses that obvious? Maggie felt great relief as he led her to the car and pushed her cases into the back seat. Then, seemingly as an afterthought, he opened the passenger door for her.
After one or two comments about the weather, which he answered monosyllabically, she gave up and spent the rest of the ten-mile ride looking at the passing countryside. They turned left on the highway and slowed on the gravel road. She managed a covert sideways glance at her driver, who was concentrating on keeping the car straight on fresh gravel.
Good-looking, definitely. Even features, a strong, straight nose, sun wrinkles around those striking blue eyes, and a mouth that could have been described as generous, even though its firm set was not. She wondered what had caused those unforgiving lines in such a young man. He couldn’t have been long out of his twenties, perhaps not much older than her own twenty-five years. Perhaps he’d been in the war. That would account for the care lines.
The road was narrow and sided by grassy ditches that now held water. There must have been a heavy rain recently. The ditches were broken up on both sides by lanes leading into farmyards, each fronted by a mailbox on a post. She felt a sudden tingle and glanced to the side just in time to see her driver’s glance slide away.
So, Mr. Matthews might disapprove, but he was interested enough in his passenger to give her the once-over when he thought she wasn’t looking.
They turned a corner and he slowed at the next mailbox. The lane was blocked by a barbed-wire fence with a gate, and he jumped out to open it. He moved smoothly, a man whose muscles did his bidding effortlessly. At the end of the lane, they rounded a corner and came to a stop in front of a two-story, white farmhouse. To the right was a grey, unpainted barn. Dotted around the yard were a garage, a couple of granaries, a clothesline filled with white sheets, and a large woodpile. A red tractor, hitched to a set of harrows, stood beside the garage.
This was going to be Maggie’s home for the next year.

Sharon McGregor is a Canadian author who has recently transplanted to the west coast. She has written humour, romance and mystery for magazines such as Sasee, Long and Short Romance, Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine and Horizon as well as stories for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not fighting with her cat Zoey for control of the computer keyboard, she is working at her ice cream shop or her bath and body shop.

A tale of grace, forgiveness, and love as a forgotten princess seeks to reclaim her true identity.

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A tale of grace, forgiveness, and love as a forgotten princess seeks to reclaim her true identity. 
It is 616AD, and one fatal night the ancient Kingdom of Elmetia falls. Saxons kill the Elmetian King, and capture Princess Teagen.
Teagen poses as a slave girl and works for the Saxons in the Kingdom of Deira, until she discovers her brother is alive. She finds a way to escape, and her path crosses with Ryce the Warrior.
Struggling with his past and angry against the tyrant Saxon king, Ryce helps the princess in pursuit of her brother. But just as the connection between them intensifies, obstacles get in their way. The Saxon king now wants vengeance, and will stop at nothing to get it.

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Copyright 2014 © Rachel James

616 AD
The Kingdom of Elmetia
Teagen scrambled under the table as the first fire-drenched arrow shot through the sky. Within seconds, thatched rooftops blazed and smoke bellowed throughout the palace. Frantic screams replaced the joyful music playing moments before.
“Princess,” Teagen’s nurse hissed from behind a wooden bench. “Are ye injured?”
“Nay.” She cast a wary glance as the battle unfolded before her. “What’s happening? Is it Saxons?”
Her nurse stretched her arm over and stroked her hair. “Aye, princess. Seems to be. Now stay put here while I find yer brother.”
Teagen flinched. “Don’t leave me Dera, please—Niall will be with Papa, they’ll be safe.”
Dera’s face paled. “I hope not, lassie, for yer brother’s sake, I pray he’s not.”
What could she mean? Was Papa in trouble?
She jumped out from her hiding place. “Then I’ll come with ye—”
Dera pushed her down firmly. “Nay, ‘tis not safe. Whatever ye do, do not let them capture ye, understand?”
She nodded, dumbfounded as Dera disappeared.
Grabbing the bottom of her long silk dress, she covered her face in an attempt to subdue the nausea that welled within. She wouldn’t look. She couldn’t. Where was Papa? She needed him right now, to hold her, and keep her safe.
A wave of relief washed over her. “Papa!” Teagen ran toward him, tears threatening her eyes.
“Shhh, lassie.” Her father scooped her up and headed for the kitchen just off the Great Hall. He opened a small stone cupboard and placed her inside.
“Stay in here, do ye understand? Do not come out until yer brother gets ye.”
“Please don’t leave me, Papa. Everyone keeps leaving me.” She tasted the salty tears that streamed her face.
Her father stroked her cheek. “Oh, lassie, I love ye so much. Ye know this, don’t ye?”
She nodded.
“Now be a brave girl and stay put.”
She gave her father a lingering hug and breathed in his comforting musky scent, her eyes averting his blood stained tunic. As he shut the cupboard door, the sound of the latch closing sent shivers through her body. The darkness did not mask the coldness of the damp stone walls, or the stale air which stifled her breathing. A sob lodged in her throat. I need to be brave for Papa.
Muffled sounds from outside grew louder—the clash of iron on iron, the collapse of buildings, and cries for help.
“King Ceretic is dead!”
Teagen stopped breathing. It could not be true.
“And what of the rest of the family?”
“Not yet found.”
“We do not leave until they are dead. Burn everything, and gather the survivors—we’ll take them to the slave market.”
She squeezed her eyes together, shutting out the fuzzy sensation that threatened to overtake her. Please, God. Nay. There surely must be some mistake.
Teagen could wait no longer. Despite her father’s strict instructions, she pushed open the door and fell on the kitchen floor. She gasped in a huge breath of air and scrambled to the doorway. Soldiers littered the outside, and in the centre, stood the Saxon King—Edwin the Tyrant. Her stomach lurched as she saw the remains of her father’s body.
Oh, Heavenly Father.
She collapsed to the ground. If her father was dead, it meant her brother Niall would likely be too. She studied the hem of her fine tunic and caressed the intricate beading Dera had sewn on the day before.
She stiffened. If they discovered her true identity as the king’s daughter, she too would be slain. She had to get out of these clothes. Her eyes rested on the dead bodies piled up outside the kitchen entrance and her heart broke as she spotted one of her friends lying on the ground. She kept low, reached out and pulled her friend further inside the kitchen.
“I’m sorry, Hilda,” she whispered to the girl, “but I’m going to need yer clothes. Ye won’t have use for them anymore.” She closed the girl’s eyelids, said a quick prayer, and removed the simple tunic and redressed her young friend in her own grand attire.
She ran out of the kitchen and toward the oak tree at the top of the hill, knowing she would be seen. She perched under a sloping branch and gazed out—her entire world ablaze. Soldiers rummaged through the dead bodies looking for valuables to keep for themselves. Teagen covered her ears as cries penetrated the night. Curling herself into a ball, she cradled her arms around her knees and rocked herself back and forth watching her kingdom fall. They were coming for her, it was simply a matter of time. To survive this night, her identity would have to be forgotten.

Rachel is a mum of three, a pastor's wife and a Christian writer. She lives in rural England, is passionate about writing, drinking tea and absolutely loves a good romance story! She writes to entertain, inspire and encourage others in their own Christian walk, hoping to reveal God's character through written form.

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#1 Amazon Bestseller: #1 in Religious & Inspirational Fiction!

The lovesick daydreams of Meredith Ambrose's teenage years for neighborhood heartthrob David Steller have faded into uncomfortable memories-until he lands in a hospital bed in her unit where she works as an R.N. David came to the Northwest to look her up-he just didn't plan on their reunion occurring with him on a gurney. Can he prove he's really changed after all these years? (Christian romance)

5 Things You Didn't Know About Author, Julie Cosgrove

1. I'm the third daughter. My mother was the third daughter, as was my grandmother and great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother...then I had a son, and an emergency hysterectomy. But it hopped to my niece who now has three daughters. I wrote a story about this and it won 3rd place in Writer's Digest contest. 
2.My name is Julie because I was supposed to be born in early July. I came into the world the end of May. I'm glad my parents chose not to rename me. However, in highschool I toyed with dropping the "e". Juli looked so much more unique and exotic. Yep, people began to pronounce it like the month the doctors said would be my birth month. Oh well...
3. I'm a true Gemini. I was raised during the year in a posh section of San Antonio. While other kids took soccer lessons, I took piano, etiquette, and flower arranging like a good little socialite. But from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I lived in the Texas Hill Country as a river rat...rodeos, barefoot and bathing suits. I'm pretty good with a rifle, too. That cabin on the river is where I always found myself closest to God, especially one starry summer nights or early misty-morning strolls. 
4. My late husband's knack for finding companies who'd go bankrupt caused us to live in four states and nine different cities in twelve years. That was my rollercoaster stage of life. One thing I learned--find a great church and all else will be fall into place.
5. For seven months I could only write with my non-dominant hand due to a pinched nerve in my neck. Freelance writing was my income at the time.  After surgery, I regained about 75% usage of my dominant hand, but still can't type with my ring finger or pinkie. So I had to re-teach myself how to click away at the keyboard without them. 

Julie B. Cosgrove is a freelance writer, professional speaker and published author. She is a member of Advanced Writers & Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, North Texas Christian Writers, The Christians Writers Group Two, and Christian Writers Fellowship International.

She represents Women at Risk International, a Christian missionary group who sponsor safe houses for women and children snatched from human trafficking and slavery in thirteen countries and is actively involved in Prayer For Freedom, a nonprofit anti-trafficking ministry.

As a speaker, Julie has achieved the highest level of communication award, the Advance Communication Gold, in Toastmasters International. She has led quiet days, workshops and retreats as well as spoken to many women’s and church groups throughout Texas, Louisiana and Florida, and in Indianapolis.

Julie writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications. In the past three years alone, her articles have been featured in Devozine and Alive Now Magazines published by the Upper Room, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness, Faith-filled Family Magazine, Good News Daily, The Secret Place, Light from the Word, and The Journey.

She has also published five nonfiction works: P.R.A.Y.I.N.G.: Bringing Power and Purpose to Your Prayers (2009), Song Notes: Devotionals from the Book of Psalms (2010), What Can She Tell Us? (2011), Between the Window and the Door (2012), and Squeeze More God-time Into Your Day (2013).

Julie has authored three contemporary faith-based novels. Focused, set in the Texas Hill Country, which follows a woman’s journey to find God in her empty nest, was released in 2012. She is working on the other two novels in that trilogy, Grounded and Rooted. The sequel to Hush in the Storm, Legitimate Lies, launches through Prism Book Group in early 2015.

Contact her at or through her blog, http://www.WhereDidYouFindGod
Watch for Julie Cosgrove's novel Legitimate Lies coming soon!

Hush in the Storm

 Jen, a young widow floundering in the storm of mourning, whose only lifeline is her humdrum job, is tossed into a maze of deceit and intrigue by a coworker named the request of her late husband, or so Tom says. He kidnaps her and fakes her death to keep her safe from the cartel who he thinks caused her husband's "accident." Together, they are thrust into a tempest of danger and deceit where no one is whom they claim to be. The list of people Jen can believe in keeps diminishing. Who can she trust while dodging the Feds, human traffickers and the press who've discovered she's alive? How will Jen rescue the two held-captive girls she befriends without drowning them, Tom, and herself in the waves of betrayal, especially when she's begun to suspect her husband may not be as dead as everyone thinks...

 Find other books by Julie Cosgrove