SPOTLIGHT: Author Keely Brooke Keith’s “All Things Beautiful”

Welcome one and all! Happy Valentines Day! I am excited to share with you an upcoming release from one of the more intriguing authors I know. Keely Brooke Keith is a fabulously creative author I know from the local ACFW chapter I am a part of. And the premise of her Uncharted Series is truly fascinating. I have just been so terribly eager to jump into this series. To say it is unique would be putting it mildly. But I’ll let you read on and find out for yourself.

All Things Beautiful

Release Date: April 17, 2018

It’s 1868 in the settlement of Good Springs, and Hannah Vestal is passionate about writing fiction and keeping her stories to herself. By lantern light she slips into her story world and dreams the adventures she’ll never experience. When her father asks to read her work, she decides to have it printed secretly for his 50th birthday. Hannah tries to arrange the printing with the settlement’s pressman, but the witty and dapper Henry Roberts won’t make it easy for her to prove her writing is worthy of his ink.

If Henry Roberts did nothing else for the rest of his life but print and bind books, he would die a satisfied man. In order to secure settlement support for his printing press, the elder council says Henry must print an error-free copy of the New Testament before the settlement’s 8th anniversary celebration. He is determined to meet their challenge, but when the enigmatic Hannah proves to be a beguiling distraction, Henry longs for something more than a life at the letterpress.

Get swept away to the hidden frontier settlement where love requires sacrifice, faith-filled adventures await, and sweet romance makes people glad to be alive. Read All Things Beautiful today and embark on an unforgettable journey of the heart in this inspirational story.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Henry studied her for a moment, struck by the oddity of seeing Hannah Vestal somewhere other than church. The years of seclusion since her mother’s death made her a mystery to him. She must be a slave to her siblings’ upbringing. Though demure in appearance, something about her high cheekbones and dark lashes veiled innate nobility, shirking the impression of servitude.

The eldest of the Vestal children had grown into an attractive woman. Still, Henry would always see her as the mournful teen weeping over her mother’s fresh grave years ago. He had left Mrs. Vestal’s funeral and gone home to weep that day too, grieving the loss as everyone in the settlement had. The only way he’d overcome it was by sketching Mrs. Vestal’s portrait, not the way she had looked in those final months of life, but the way she looked when the group lived in Virginia. She’d been strong, majestic almost, with the same high cheekbones as the woman standing before him now.

Remembering the pain, his heart stirred with an overwhelming desire to help Hannah in any way he could. He waved his good hand at the rolls of paper beside a cut table at the back of the shop. “I have plenty of paper and happen to need candles.”

She didn’t immediately respond. Had she not heard him or not understood his reply? He rounded the press and stopped at the worktable. “On cloudy days, it’s almost too dark in here to work.”

A slow smile graced her rosy lips. “Excellent, or rather, not that your workshop is dim, but I mean it is excellent that you should need candles.” Her cheeks flushed, matching her pink lips. “For me, anyway, because I have two dozen here to trade for paper.”

He reached into the basket and drew out a pair of tapers, which were still attached at the wick. “That’s a lot of candles to trade for paper. I’ll take four. Save the rest to trade at the market.”

Her smile vanished. She took a half step closer and whispered. “I need quite a lot of paper.”

The secretive manner of her voice over something as trivial as trading candles for paper almost made him laugh. He held it back not wanting to mock such a delicate creature. Leaning down to whisper too, he asked. “How much paper?”

“Two hundred sheets.”

“You’re right. That is quite a lot.” He stood straight and grinned at her. “Why are we whispering?”

The light shining through the doorway highlighted the golden flecks in her brown eyes. She leveled her glowing gaze on him, bucking all notion of fragility. “I prefer to keep my business affairs private. If you aren’t accustomed to trading discretely, I can trade with your father. He never questions me.”

He laced his voice with sarcasm. “Pardon my insensitivity. The secrecy you employ over a trade for paper piqued my curiosity.”

The punch of his humor seemed as lost on her as it was on any woman. She bowed her regal neck a degree as if deigning to accept his apology. “No harm done.”

Perhaps she was being sarcastic too. If he knew her more, he’d be able to read her intentions or at least be able to provoke her and then read her reaction. Considering her simple life, it seemed more likely she was taking him at his word. A twinge of guilt tightened his chest.

What was it about women that always put him on guard? He gave her unimposing stature a quick study. She was too small to be threatening, so his defensiveness must be unwarranted. He cleared the cynicism from his throat. “I take great care in stocking and cutting my paper and like to be assured it will go to good use.” He returned the taper candles to her basket and rested both palms on the worktable. “Why do you need so much paper?”

Her gaze darted around the print shop. “I’d rather… I’d rather not say.”

The noblewoman was gone and the homebody was back. Had he flustered her by being male or did she need the paper for a truly private endeavor? Either way, there was something amusing about pressing her further. “Did your sisters lose their school slates?”

“No.”
“Are you papering your walls?”
She squared her shoulders and hiked the basket up to her chest. “Will you trade with me or not?”
“You don’t have enough candles to trade for two hundred sheets of paper.”
She plunked her basket on the press table, her assertiveness ignited. “How much paper will you give me for all of these?”
The force in her voice fueled his urge to vex her for the pleasure of watching her stir.

However, knowing the woman before him encased a mournful girl who needed something he had to offer, he decided against jesting and drew several candles out of the basket.

The smooth candles were solid with tightly woven wicks, and he needed them. He removed all but four of the candles, unable to take everything she had. “I will accept these for twenty sheets of paper.”

“But I need two hundred sheets.”

She didn’t need that much paper. Something was amiss. He pointed at the tall rolls of paper filling a wide bin beside the cut table in the back corner of the room. “Each of those rolls contains only twelve sheets of paper.” When her eyes widened, he asked, “Are you certain you require two hundred sheets?”

“Oh, no.” A burst of laughter broke her regality. She pressed her hand to her middle. “I’m sorry. No wonder you looked confused. I need two hundred pages—as in sheets of writing paper.” She drew a rectangle in the air. “About this size.”

Delighted by her laughter, his eyes refused to look away as he pulled a paper roll from the bin and opened it on the cut table. Little lines curved around her mouth when she laughed, almost like dimples but more stately.

The smile lines faded along with her laughter, and he wanted to see them again. The yearning pressed him to say something humorous, anything to make her laugh again, but his mind went as blank as the paper he was unrolling. He stood open-jawed as if every ounce of his intelligence had been doused by her song-like laughter. His half-hand lost what little strength it had, and he fumbled with the paper roll. For a moment time seemed to freeze. Her gaze darted to his scars, and pity changed her expression. He would rather receive disgust than pity. Wanting neither from her, he fought to appear composed. “Yes, well, I will trade you the candles for writing paper… two hundred pages. About six inches by nine then?”

She nodded. “Sounds right. I’ve never measured. Your father always cut the pages for me.”

“We get eight pages of six by nine per sheet.” He tried to focus on the paper, though her gaze had yet to leave his hand. “So you only need twenty-five sheets, not two hundred.”

She pointed at the door. “Should I come back for it tomorrow?”
“No, unless you’re in a rush. It will only take me a few minutes.”

Find Keely’s Books Online

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More About Keely

Keely Brooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a slight Sci-Fi twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) and Aboard Providence (2017 INSPY Longlist). Keely also creates resources for writers, including The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Character Journal. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely grew up in a family that frequently relocated. By graduation, she lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

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INTERVIEW & SPOTLIGHT: Author Bruce A. Stewart

I am pleased to welcome you to my blog once again to meet another Clean Reads author, Bruce A. Stewart. I cannot say that I have noticed Bruce before, but I will keep my eyes peeled. Not only are we signed with the same agent, the premise of his books are intriguing and deep. Definitely makes this clean Historical Romance reader itch to pick up these contemporary pieces. (I will note here that, as an author, it is ALWAYS a good idea to read in all genres, there is so much to be learned by doing so.)

But I am rambling once again…so I will shift our focus to Bruce…

Welcome, Bruce. Thanks for being on the blog today. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Since tragically losing his wife three years ago, Live Oak, Louisiana dentist Joe Whitaker has relied on his steadfast mother-in-law, Laura Everett, to help with his two small children. Abby Sumner, an attorney currently living in California, has come home to Live Oak only long enough to attend her father’s funeral and settle his estate. Afterward, she plans to return to Los Angeles and never look back. After a spirited first meeting between Joe and Abby, sparks begin to fly in more ways than one. But now Joe begins to notice distinct changes in his mother-in-law’s behavior. Unsure of the reason, he soon learns of a terrible secret from long ago that could jeopardize his relationship with both women. When tragedy strikes the family at Christmas, Joe seeks divine intervention. But can he hold it together while he waits for the miracle that may or may not come?

Sounds tense. I like it!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always written in some form or fashion. When I retired in 2009, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. Along the way, I was fortunate to have a few short stories published and to sign with Hartline Literary’s Cyle Young. Sing Me Something Happy is my debut novel.

Congrats on publishing and signing with an agent! Both good early accomplishments 🙂

But it’s not all sunshine and roses, as you well know. There are things we writers love and things we don’t like so much… What part of the writing process do you dread?

Getting started. Once I get kicked off, I’m good to go.

That initial hump is quite the barrier. As you know, we pick up from other authors as much as we do from craft books. So, I always ask–what are you currently reading?

Recently finished Still Waters, a lovely novel by my friend, Lindsey Brackett.

My readers know by now that I set my writing mood with music. What about you? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t always listen to music while writing but when I do, I prefer movie soundtracks. My favorite is The Last Samurai. I also like Braveheart. These just seem to motivate me, especially when writing a particularly moving or suspenseful scene.

I’m a movie soundtrack person too. Star Wars is always in my player 🙂

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I prefer writing early in the morning. My brain seems to work better right after a good night’s sleep. I can start around five a.m. and write until about three p.m. After that, I’m a complete zombie.

I look forward to the distraction lessness that must be life with no kids at home 🙂

How long does it take you to write a book?

As short as six months, as long as a year.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Sing Me Something Happy currently has 30 reviews on Amazon, 29 five-star and one four-star.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

My next Clean Reads novel, Hurt Road, is scheduled for release March 13.

Thank you again, Bruce, for being on my blog today and sharing about your work and process. I’ll turn this thing toward sharing about Sing Me Something Happy and look forward to seeing more about Hurt Road in the future!

Sing Me Something Happy

 

“Abby glanced at the bright red digits on the clock next to her head and sighed. If she had the power to turn back time, she would definitely do it now.”

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More About the Author

Growing up in the colorful, multicultural state of Louisiana, Bruce was reared with an appreciation for diversity and a love for small town life. After high school and a couple of years of college, he began his twenty-eight-year career as a Louisiana State Police trooper, retiring as a sergeant in 2009. During that time, he witnessed the humorous, the sad, the tragic, and even the unimaginable. These life experiences give him tremendous credibility when writing about the many aspects of the human condition. Having been deployed to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Lake Charles after Hurricane Rita, he has seen firsthand the determination and courage of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances.

Connect with Bruce and his works

www.bruceastewart.com

www.facebook.com/authorbruceastewart

SPOTLIGHT: Author Misty M. Beller’s “This Treacherous Journey”

The Treacherous Journey

Escaping north is her only option…And he’s the only one with the skill to get her there.

Widowed and with child, Emma Malcom is fleeing from the reward offered for her arrest. She’s innocent of the dirty dealings her deceased husband orchestrated, but the angry townspeople didn’t stop to listen to her defense before she narrowly escaped with her life. Now, she and her twin brother, Joseph, must battle the mountain wilderness of the Rockies to reach Canada and the clean start she craves. But when a fall from the rocky cliff leaves Joseph wounded and weak, could the strange mountain man they encounter be God’s gift to see them to safety?

Simeon Grant makes bad choices. His deceased wife and twin babies are lost to him now because of his reckless decisions, and the penance he pays by living alone in this mountain wilderness is only a small piece of what he thinks he deserves. When a city woman, heavy with child, appears on his doorstep with her injured brother, her presence resurrects the memories he’s worked so hard to forget. And when she asks for his help to travel deeper into the mountain country, he can’t help wonder why God would force him to relive the same mistakes he’s already suffered through. Or maybe taking these two to safety could be the way to redeem himself.

But when their travels prove more treacherous than he imagined, Simeon finds himself pressing the limits of his ability to keep Emma and her brother safe. Can he overcome the past that haunts him to be the man she needs? Will Emma break through the walls around Simeon’s heart before it’s too late, or will the dangers of these mountains be the end of them all?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Emma fought a wave of protectiveness as the mountain man peered at Joseph’s arm again. His face was hard to read, but she didn’t like the way he’d tried to get rid of her. He either didn’t know as much about doctoring as he’d made it sound, or the work ahead would be painful for Joseph. Either way, she would be here to protect and support her brother. She’d had more than her fair share of secretive men with hidden agendas, and she wasn’t about to let Joseph suffer more than necessary at the hands of this one.

The mountain man rose to his feet, and she took an involuntary step back as his height towered above her. He was taller than Joseph. Taller than her late husband by at least six inches.

He strode to the other side of the room and opened a wooden box. After rifling through for a moment, he extracted a small cloth bundle and turned to face her. “I’m going to get a splint. Steep this in a tea for your husband.” He tossed the parcel, and she barely caught it in the crook of her right arm.

“He’s not…” She started to correct him about her relationship to Joseph, but the man slipped out of the cabin and shut the door before she could finish.

She held up the pouch, tied closed with a strip of leather, then glanced over at the pot warming on the hearth beside the fire. Should she make a whole kettle of the tea, or just one cup for Joseph? Her poor brother was pale as fresh milk, and his mouth was pinched in a tight line. If this was meant to help his pain, he’d need a whole pot full. She crossed to the fire and poured the contents of the pouch into the metal pitcher.

With the tea steeping, she knelt on Joseph’s good side and stroked the hair from his brow. “How’re you feeling, love?”

“Hurts.” Joseph didn’t open his eyes. And the fact that he didn’t try to make light of his pain or sound reassuring gave truth to the intensity of his anguish.

“I’m so sorry.” She combed through his curls, letting her fingernails skim his scalp in a way she hoped would be soothing. “I think we’ve found someone who can help you.”

As if summoned, the door opened, and the mountain man stepped inside again. He wore buckskins like the frontiersmen they’d seen in Fort Benton. Except this man even wore them on his feet, laced up to his knees. She’d only seen Indians wearing shoes like that, and even then, she’d only seen drawings on flyers advertising Wild West shows as she and Joseph had traveled up the Mississippi.

Was this man an Indian? His dark hair appeared more brown than black, even in the dim light of the cabin. And those blue eyes… They’d been piercing as he’d stood in front of his home like a sentry, glaring at the two of them. No, he didn’t look the way she’d heard the redskins described.

Although maybe there was something a little savage about him. No, not savage, just…wild. Something that made you take a second look at him. Something she wasn’t sure if she should fear or admire.

Buy Links

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More About the Author

Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love. For a limited time, you can get her bestselling novel, The Lady and the Mountain Man, FREE here: https://www.subscribepage.com/s8n2o1

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Connect with Misty and her books

Website: http://mistymbeller.com

Twitter: @MistyMBeller

Facebook (Author Page): MistyMBellerAuthor

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/misty-m-beller

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MistyMBeller

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/MistyMBeller

Amazon (Author Page): https://amazon.com/author/mistymbeller

 

GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Author Daisy Townsend

How to be Happy with What We Have

by Daisy Townsend

Recently I became obsessed with finding a rug just the right size for a floor area we wanted to cover in our bedroom. The size rug we needed wasn’t easy to find, not being a standard size. I measured several times and pictured what the different-sized rugs would look like in our bedroom. I hunted at Ollie’s and online.

One day I noticed the carpet remnant on the family room floor left over from when we’d had our upstairs carpeted four years ago. The longer I looked the more sure I became that this carpet remnant was exactly the right size for the area we wanted to cover in our bedroom. (A standard size rug would easily replace the remnant in our family room.)

When Donn and I carried the remnant to our bedroom, we found it was a perfect fit! I kept thinking of the irony of how hard we’d tried to find the perfect rug when we already had exactly what we needed. I wondered how often in life we do the same thing─go out searching for what we think we need when we already have it.

One woman I knew had been married many years to a good man but decided she wasn’t happy. Eventually she left her husband and found the man she thought she wanted. Things didn’t turn out well. I asked her gently, “Do you have regrets?” Sobs shook her whole body as she nodded. “So many regrets.”

I read of a similar case of a woman who spent many years complaining to her calm, easy-going accountant husband and her friends about the unexciting life they led. When Tim died of a heart attack in his forties, Diane found the man of her dreams. He was debonair and charming, an exciting date. However, after they married, she discovered he wanted to party every night and cared little about managing finances. Later, Diane told a friend, “I wish I had married someone who was content to stay home and good at managing money.” Her friend looked at her and said, “Someone like Tim?” God had given her exactly what she needed, but she’d been too blind to appreciate him.

This reminds me of two of my favorite children’s books: Old Hat, New Hat and The Best Nest. The moral of each story is the same. In Old Hat, New Hat the bear sets out to buy a new hat. He tries on or looks at 31 different hats, but finds something wrong with each one. (Do you remember? “Too big. Too small. Too flat. Too tall. etc.”) In the end, he puts on his old hat, looks in the mirror and says, “Just right! Just right. Just right. Just right.” He leaves the store wearing his old hat with a smile on his face.

In The Best Nest, Mr. Bird loves their nest and sings often, “I love my house. I love my nest. In all the world, my nest is best!” Mrs. Bird has a different opinion but in the end, after looking at many other nests, Mrs. Bird also realizes that the nest they have is, after all, the best nest.

Old Hat, New Hat and The Best Nest have happy endings because the “people” come to appreciate what they already had. However, in the real world, as in the other two stories I shared, the endings aren’t always happy. We may leave a marriage, a job, a house, or any number of places or situations, and later, when we realize the value of what we had, we discover it’s too late.

Charles Stanley recently said many people love to quote Psalm 37:4 (Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart), but fail to understand that the promise has a condition we must fulfill. Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy me early with your love that I may delight in you all the day.” As the Lord becomes our delight, He aligns our desires with His.

If we find ourselves unhappy and dissatisfied with our marriage, our job, our church, our home, perhaps the first step shouldn’t be to look for a new man/woman, job, church, home. Perhaps the first step should be to ask God to satisfy us with His love so that we can delight in Him and trust Him to give us the desires of our hearts. In many cases, we may discover that He already has.

Father, forgive us for trying so hard to find what we want that we’re blinded to the fact you’ve often already given us what we need. Amen.

Daisy, thank you so much for this post and for being on my blog today. If I may, let me turn our conversation toward your novel, Sarah’s Legacy. What was your inspiration for this novel?

We researched the history of our home (over 100 years old) and I was so inspired by some of the former residents (late 1800’s-early 1900’s) that I decided to write a Christian historical fiction based on some of their lives. A 95-year-old friend whose husband lived in that house from the age of ten provided more history that prompted me to write the book.

That inspiration just sparked, huh? Did you always want to be a writer?

As a child, I wanted to be a wife, mother, and writer. I have published writers on both sides of my family an older sister and now a niece who are published writers. Maybe it’s in my blood!

Sounds like it! How long does it take you to write a book?

My first book was a compilation of devotionals written over many year’s time. It took me a year to compile them into an autobiographical devotional book, including writing more devotionals and editing previous ones. Sarah’s Legacy, my first fiction, was started in 1998, put away in a box maybe six months later when my life became too busy, then finished in 2015-2016 after Homespun Faith was published and people were asking, “What will you write next?”

Maybe I’m being sneaky here…but could you tell us something about your novel that is NOT in the blurb?

Polly Dye finds much more than she was looking for in the diary of Sarah Davis, previous owner of their 19th century home…

Intriguing… Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m working on the second book in the Sarah’s Legacy Series, Sarah’s Legacy Shared.

Daisy, thanks again for being on the blog and for answering my random questions. I won’t keep my readers from digging deeper into Sarah’s Legacy, so I best stop my rambling 🙂

Sarah’s Legacy

Exuberant, 18-year-old Polly Dye, torn between pleasing her mother and pleasing her beau, moves with her family into a house that evokes a chilling sensation as she steps over the threshold. She can’t decide whether something bad has happened here or if something bad is going to happen.

Soon Polly discovers the diary of the original owner, Sarah Davis. She hopes it will answer her questions about the dark foreboding she senses in the house. Instead, she wrestles with the many losses Sarah experienced while still maintaining her faith in God. What good is a God who doesn’t protect one from pain, Polly’s utmost goal in life?

As Polly experiences losses of her own and learns through the mistakes Sarah made, Polly realizes it’s not enough to have faith in her mother’s faith. Will Sarah’s legacy help Polly develop a faith of her own and will her questions about the house be answered?

Enjoy an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

February 1910

Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania

Polly burst through the front door of the large, two-story house. A sudden chill of apprehension stopped her exuberant rush. She shivered. Sunlight flooded the faded red and gray wallpapered room. It glistened off the leaded window beside the door, at odds with the darkness and oppression.

Footsteps pounded across the porch as the rest of the family pushed past her with loud, excited exclamations. The younger children raced through the empty rooms and up the stairs with Polly close behind.

“Florence.”

The urgency of Mother’s voice squelched Polly’s enthusiasm just as effectively as the strange foreboding had a moment before. She teetered on the bottom step. Why wouldn’t her parents call her Polly as everyone else did?

More About the Author

Daisy Beiler Townsend had a life-long dream of being a writer and published her first story in 1981. Writing and honing her craft has been an ongoing theme while she and her husband, Donn, raised a family, did foster care, and mission work. Daisy also did Christian counseling. Her writing has been published more than eighty time in magazines such as Guideposts, The Upper Room, The Secret Place, New Man, Christian Home, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and many other Christian periodicals. In 2014 Daisy self-published an autobiographical devotional book, Homespun Faith and a historical Christian Fiction, Sarah’s Legacy, in 2017. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers.

Daisy was also certified with the National Christian Counselors Association as a Pastoral Counselor and ordained by the National Conservative Christian Church as a Minister of

Counseling in 1998. Her training created an understanding of the five temperaments which contributes to creating characters with depth. She and Donn also served with One Mission Society as missionaries to Japan for a total of four years, besides six other short-term mission trips to Japan between 2001-2016. They live in Greenville, Pennsylvania, and have three grown children and six grandchildren.

Connect with Daisy and her books

Website – https://www.homespunfaith.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DaisyBeilerTownsend/

Twitter – @DaisyDonaisy

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/daisybeilertownsend/

Email: donaisy@neo.rr.com

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WHERE TO BUY HOMESPUN FAITH and SARAH’S LEGACY

GIVEAWAY

Daisy Townsend has generously offered a giveaway to one person – an ebook copy of her newest release, Sarah’s Legacy. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter (below). Entries will be accepted through Monday, February 5, 2018 at 11:59 pm. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway