Comfort & Joy, The Christmas Lights Collection by Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson and Chautona Havig on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Comfort & Joy

Author: The Christmas Lights Collection: Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance, Cozy Mystery, Suspense, Christmas

Release Date: October 16, 2018

The third-annual Christmas Lights Collection is pleased to present: Comfort & Joy–four Christmas Novellas. From contemporary romance to cozy mystery and suspense, this diverse collection celebrates the comforts and joys of Christmas.

Click here to purchase your copy!

Frost Heaves by Alana Terry, set in Alaska is a thriller. The tale is very suspenseful, sometimes heart-stoppingly so and is not your normal Christmas story (and may be too intense for some readers).

Deck the Shelves by Toni Shiloh, features one of my lifelong dreams, to own a bookstore (never mind that in today’s society books are almost obsolete, a girl can still dream, can’t she?). Throw in a swoon-worthy mechanic who is “once bitten, twice shy,” and you have a tale of romance, everyone can enjoy.

The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson is such a sweet romance. How many men will wait for years for the woman they love to realize he’s perfect for her? Add to this, the young woman starting a wedding planning business while overcoming dyslexia and trying to honor her heritage and you have the makings of a perfect Christmas story.

The Ghosts of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig, has a very Dickenseque feel to it, though not so strong as to be a retelling of A Christmas Carol. An adorable well-mannered matchmaking “tween” adds interest to this mild mystery of “who’s the ghost.” But don’t let the title throw you off, the story resonates with Christian values.

A fun collection to curl up with, in your favorite chair, under your favorite blanket, sipping your favorite drink, and whisk away to different locations and lives. You won’t want to miss the “Joy” in Comfort and Joy!

I received the book from one author through  Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Authors

Alana Terry: Pastor’s wife Alana Terry is a homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second. You can find her at alanaterry.com

Toni Shiloh: Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. You can find her at tonishiloh.wordpress.com

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

Cathe Swanson: Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years, and the long Wisconsin winters are perfect for writing and reading books! Cathe enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again. You can find her at catheswanson.com 

Chautona Havig: Amazon bestselling author of the Aggie books and Past Forward, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave desert where she uses story to connect readers to the Master Storyteller.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

Why Do So Many Christians Love to Celebrate Christmas?

“We don’t celebrate Christmas because we were ordered to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We were never commanded to celebrate His birth.”

Something about that statement didn’t sit well with me, but I was honest enough with myself to admit that it might be because I happened to love Christmas, and the idea of not celebrating it didn’t sit well with my twelve-year-old mind.

No, I didn’t go in for the Santa thing. I never had. As later my children were taught to say, Santa wasn’t “invited to our family celebration.” But still, the family, the joy, the music, the spirit of the thing moved me.

So, I did what I always did when I didn’t understand something. I asked Dad. “Why do we celebrate Christmas?”

If I recall correctly, Dad took a sip of coffee and watched me for several long seconds before he said, “What is Christmas?”

Ever the teacher, Dad had to put on his Socratic robe and make me work for it. I answered. “What we call the day Jesus was supposedly born. His birthday.”

“Okay. So, we celebrate Christ’s birthday on Christmas—on Christmas.”

“Yes.”

He gave me that slight smirk that always meant something good was coming. “And what did God do when His Son was born?”

Dad stumped me there. I blinked. “I don’t know.”

“He sent out the biggest birth announcement ever known to man—a star, angels, music.” Then Dad continued his leading questions. “He…”

I got it. “Celebrated the birth.”

“Yes.” Sometimes Dad was a man of few words.

But I couldn’t be satisfied—not yet.

“So, why do we give presents to each other if it’s Jesusbirthday? Isn’t that backward?”

“Isn’t all of Christianity backward to the fallen mind?” When I didn’t answer, he smiled again. “What does Christ say about doing things for others?”

It wasn’t word-for-word Scripture—not even close. Just as he would have prompted again, I remembered Jesus’ story of the man who was fed, clothed, and given a drink. “When you do things for others, it’s like you’re doing them for Jesus.”

Dad shrugged then. “Maybe it’s just justification for continuing a beloved tradition, but it brings me joy to give you gifts. And Christ had something to say about how fathers love to give good gifts to their children.”

That brought me back to the original question.

“What about the fact that we’re told to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus? We aren’t told to celebrate the birth. Does that make it wrong?”

This time, Dad’s jaw hardened. I saw it twitch, and prepared for a blasting. After all, I had kind of argued with him. I hadn’t meant to, but I could see how it might be taken that way.

“Chautona,” he said, “don’t ever put rules on yourself that God hasn’t. We may not be commanded to celebrate Christ’s birth, but we aren’t forbidden, either. We have God’s example to emulate, and we have this truth.” His voice gentled when he saw he’d startled me. “We would never have been able to celebrate Christ’s death if He had not been born. If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.”

What does all that have to do with Christmas novellas (or “noellas” like I prefer to call them)?

Well, people ask me all the time. “Why do you write so many Christmas books? Why do these Christmas collections? Why focus so much on the birth of Jesus and the trappings of cultural Christmas when it’s inferior to the “big thing”—the Resurrection?”

Dad’s answer is mine. Because it points to it. It draws attention to it. And because Christmas is one time of year—the only time of year in which you can walk into almost any building in America and still hear praises sung to God at some point. They slip in between love songs about giving away your heart at Christmas and rocking around Christmas trees to “Jingle Bell Rock.”

And even the more “secular” versions that aren’t an outright praise to God like “Silent Night” or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” sometimes throw in Jesus anyway because they can’t quite leave out, “Merry Christmas” in some place or another.

So maybe our Christmas books are inferior to what “Easter” books could be. Maybe they are. But if Christmas trees, caroling, and “ghost stories” keep Jesus at the forefront of someone’s mind in October, November, or December, then I think that’s a pretty cool thing.

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thanks for coming.

Blog Stops

A Diva’s Heart, November 29

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 29

A Baker’s Perspective, November 29

Multifarious, November 30

Blossoms and Blessings, November 30

Bibliophile Reviews, December 1

Britt Reads Fiction, December 1

Vicky Sluiter, December 2

Remembrancy, December 2

Among the Reads, December 3

A Reader’s BrainDecember 3

KarenSueHadleyDecember 4

Inklings and notionsDecember 4

Quiet Quilter, December 5

Lots of Helpers, December 5

God’s Little BookwormDecember 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 6

Simple Harvest Reads, December 7 (Mindy Houng)

Captive Dreams Window, December 7

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 8

Mary Hake, December 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 9

Janices book reviewsDecember 9

Carpe Diem, December 10

BigreadersiteDecember 10

Kat’s Corner Books, December 11

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

Aryn The LibraryanDecember 12

Josephine’s Bookshelf, December 12

Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, the Christmas Light Collection is giving away a grand prize of a 6-month Kindle Unlimited subscription!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d62a/comfort

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Meddlin’ Madeline: Such a Tease

Such a Tease Banner

Click here to purchase your copy.

 About the Book

Such A Tease

Book: Such a Tease

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical/Mystery

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Madeline, with a little assistance, discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! Can she expose him for the fraud she’s sure he is?

In book two of the Meddlin’ Madeline series, Madeline Brown has a new endeavor to occupy her time. But is it to keep her out of the way or a reward for her work in Sweet on You? With the help of her young friends, Madeline discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! What’s a girl to do?

But her new position also gives her opportunities to observe, and what she sees sets more than one new investigation in motion. What does her old suitor, Delbert Jackson, know? Why is Mr. Merton giving important papers to that scoundrel, Vernon Smythe, and whatever happened to poor Abigail Cooper?

Add to these intriguing questions Henry Hardwick’s continued attentions, Edith’s newfound devotion to the temperance movement and Madeline’s determination to find her a more reliable suitor, and strange behavior from her Aunt Louisa and things heat up as summer fades from Rockland.

Her dear friend, Russell, busy with an important project at work, finds himself unable to help keep her out of trouble and away from danger. Is Madeline going too far? Will her meddling get her in serious trouble this time, will it destroy her reputation irreparably, or will she rid Rockland of a scoundrel once and for all?

About the Author

Chautona

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona considers herself blessed to live in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. When not writing, which she admits isn’t often, Chautona enjoys blogging, paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old (read: before her parents’ time) music.

Guest Blog Post from Chautona

Leon Czolgosz is my new nemesis. He’s dead, but he ruined my book. No, really. The guy totally destroyed the opening pages of Such a Tease.

Now, these days, not a whole lot of people remember the name of Leon Cozolgosz. I didn’t. But I’ll never forget him now (although I may never remember how to spell his name).

Who is he? Only the guy who shot President McKinley. Why am I annoyed with him over a hundred years later? The idiot did this thing on September 6, 1901. You know, four days after this book opened? Yeah. Couldn’t he have done it on say… January 6, 1901? Even January 6, 1902, would have served my purposes.

Look, I’m not as callous as I appear. Truly. But if President McKinley had to die, did his murderer have to do it when it would completely mess up my book?

How did it mess up my book you ask?

I’ll tell you. I left it out—the whole assassination thing. There I was, fixing a wedding date for one of the characters, when a thought occurred to me. She could be married on Flag Day—if Flag Day was a thing then. I didn’t think it was. I really thought Wilson was responsible for that—you know, creating holidays in between his notes to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany or something like that. But I hoped. Somehow—just maybe. I mean we had Labor Day from Cleveland, why not Flag Day from McKinley. But noooooo. He didn’t. What did he do?

He got shot. Four days after my book opened. And there wasn’t a single word about it in the story.

Like I could ever get away with that. This was news! Big news. And nothing about it in the life of a daughter of a politician? I think not.

Not only did this Leon Czolgosz (no, really. It’s spelled correctly) shoot the president on September 6th, but he didn’t do a good job of it! Look, I think I’ve established that I didn’t want President McKinley killed. But if the guy with the unpronounceable last name had to do it, couldn’t he have done a good job of it? Couldn’t he have shot the president in the head? McKinley suffered for eight days before he died. Eight days! They thought he was getting better and then gangrene killed him.

It would have been a mercy had Leon just shot McKinley in the head or the heart. Why the abdomen? Cruel, if you ask me, even for an anarchist.

And it made adding the whole affair to my book even more problematic. No, really! Think about it. I couldn’t have the newspapers announce the death of President McKinley on September 7th and then have a few mentions of the bank being affected or something. No… no… now I had to have a headline event, give false hope, and then add the death on top of it all.

Look, I do an obscene amount of research for my books. No, really. Keen was slang in 1901. Woohoo! Look up “peachy keen”? Yeah. Can’t use it. 1950s. The telephone? Can Madeline expect to use one in a burgeoning city in 1901? Considering there were over 850,000 telephones in use, yes. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that a photographer who works for a local paper might have a telephone in order to receive calls requesting him to come photograph some big event—like the Mayor’s speech on the death of President McKinley, perchance?

Yep. Somehow, I almost missed one of the biggest events in US history. Research saved the book—and ruined my timeline. All at the same time. Gotta love history. Or not.

And Leon Czolgosz? Yeah. Thanks for nothing.

Blog Stops

March 21: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

March 21: Jeanette’s Thoughts

March 22: Bibliophile Reviews

March 22: Captive Dreams Window

March 23: Blogging With Carol

March 23: A Greater Yes

March 24: Carpe Diem

March 24: A Baker’s Perspective

March 25: Reading Is My SuperPower

March 26: Back Porch Reads

March 27: Splashesofjoy

March 28: Christian Bookaholic

March 29: Lots of Helpers

March 29: The Scribbler

March 30: Neverending Stories

March 30: Bigreadersite

March 31: With a Joyful Noise

March 31: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

April 1: Pause for Tales

April 1: Avid Reader Book Reviews

April 2: Ashley’s Bookshelf

April 2: A Room without Books is Empty

April 3: The perfect beginning

April 3: His Grace is Sufficient

Giveaway

Giveaway Such A Tease

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a Reader’s Teaser Package
that includes:
A paperback copy of both Sweet on You and Such a Tease
A “Tea-for-One” teapot
A Tin of loose-leaf tea of your choice (six options available from our local tearoom)
A pound of assorted See’s chocolates
A set of six handmade antique-inspired note cards
A $25 Amazon Gift Card
And, for the teaser… the winner will also receive the exclusive short story (usually reserved for pre-orders) The Fate of Abigail Cooper!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2b8

Sweet on You (Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries Book 1) by Chautona Havig

Meddlin Madeline 1

Publisher’s Summary

It is my hypothesis that social conventions are created to test our fortitude. 

Rockland circa 1900-
As the mayor’s daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind and a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her.

With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor’s daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father’s mayoral campaign.

So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline’s interest piques–until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she’s never encountered.

Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her “meddling” create tension for herself and her father? Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life?

Meddlin’ Madeline: Welcome to Rockland’s infancy.

My Review

Madeline Brown is not a typical female of the early 1900’s.  In fact, Russell Barnes, the brother of her best friend, Amy, points out her conundrum; Maddie is too traditional to be modern and too modern to be traditional. She also is intelligent and not afraid to show it.  Also, she is keenly observant, which causes her to aspire to be a Sherlock Holmes “wannabe.”

I enjoyed getting to know Madeline.  Chautona Havig writes in a very unique and intriguing style.  I even learned a few new words!  Her portrayal of Maddie as a fiercely loyal and steadfast friend is refreshing. As you get to know the main characters of the book, you feel a kinship and an affinity towards them. The young people in the story are realistic and true to life.  Their stories will resonate with many readers, and the villains will leave you outraged at their audacity.  However, you will be cheering, and in some cases laughing out loud, at how Maddie is able to manufacture a way to keep a friend’s heart from being broken.

Sweet on You by Chautona Havig is book 1 in the Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries.  Join us on Wednesday, when I link up with Celebrate Lit’s Blog Tour highlighting the second book, Such a Tease.