Monthly Archives: March 2017
I’m working on a short story with the theme of friendship, specifically the way friendships can change over time…sometimes for the better, but not always. Sometimes friendships are just for a season. And, believe it or not, that’s okay!
I remember a friendship I had long ago with a girl we’ll call Sandy. As preschoolers and in kindergarten, Sandy and I were constant companions, in and out of each others’ houses, playing together nearly every day. She had a confident, sunny, and outgoing personality and was definitely the leader, the mastermind behind most of our games. I was quieter and shyer, content to follow her lead, and the conjurer of stories to go with our adventures. We made a great team.
Then my family moved to another town–not terribly far away, but too far for bicycles. We attended different schools and needed to be driven by our parents to visit each other, which necessitated more formal play dates and travel arrangements. As we grew older and got involved in more activities, our schedules got busier and dates harder to arrange. Our visits gradually became fewer and fewer until they stopped altogether.
High school brought us back into each other’s orbits, but the reunion wasn’t what I’d hoped for. During middle school Sandy had fallen in with a fast, “cool” crowd that smoked and drank. I, meanwhile, had turned inward, becoming even more bookish and nerdy than I’d been before. Our first meetings were tentative and awkward, and soon we stopped trying to rekindle the friendship. In our enormous high school of several thousand students, we barely even saw each other, except for the occasional smile-and-nod in the hallways. We didn’t argue or part on bad terms; we simply had nothing in common anymore, and drifted apart naturally
I wish this story had a happier ending, but sometimes that’s the way friendships go. Some are there for a just season. You’re in the same class at school, or your families live next door to each other, or your children are friends, or you serve on the same committee. You enjoy each other’s company, but when you graduate or move away, or your children grow up, or the project ends, you move on. And, really, it’s okay if it doesn’t last forever. Your friend was there when you needed her, and vice versa. Friendship can be a blessing without being permanent.
Other friendships last a lifetime. That’s a real blessing, but rare. Longtime friendships weather life’s ups and downs. They may cool off for a time and heat up at other times. They stretch and flex to accommodate the changes that life invariably brings.
And of course there are plenty of others in-between, spanning more than a season but less than a lifetime.
Have you ever had a Sandy in your life? How about a lifelong friend?
Keep an eye out for the short story on friendship (as yet untitled), coming soon. Telling you it exists will spur me on to finish it!
Delirious with spring fever, I’m giving away 10 signed copies of “You’re the Cream in My Coffee” on Goodreads. You (or your favorite fiction fan) can enter through March 28. US and Canada only
UPDATE: We have our winner! Congratulations, Kathy Conger! And welcome to all our new subscribers.
I know it’s March…but who says the Irish get all the good luck?
It’s been WAY too long since I’ve done a giveaway, so I’ve decided to give away a handcrafted “You’re the Cream in My Coffee” mug, pictured at right. Designed and made by Greg Lamont of Lamont Pottery in Ames, Iowa, this limited-edition mug will keep your heart as warm as your beverage. (Hint: Its big handle and robust size also make it a great gift for the gentleman in your life.)
The contest is open to all Sparkling Vintage Life newsletter subscribers, whether you’re a longtime subscriber or brand-new to the fold. Subscribe by entering your e-mail in the space to the right of the screen. The winner will be chosen by random drawing on March 17, 2017. EDITED: I’M EXTENDING THE GIVEAWAY TO MARCH 20. MAY THE LUCK OF THE IRISH BE WITH YOU!
March 2017 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Reunion at Crane Lake by Robin Bayne — Colt’s memory is returning after the accident that ended his career. Now he wants to take over his family’s inn, but he’ll have to partner with his former fiancée to be able to afford it. He’ll need forgiveness to make that happen. Tia’s goal is clear: to return the inn to its former grandeur. And she’ll even work with Colt to do so. But like the inn, their relationship needs a lot of work. He broke her heart…can she ever trust him again? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])
Hope by Fay Lamb — She’s a starving artist facing a serious illness; he’s the doctor who’s her only hope of survival. If only she hadn’t caused his sister to die. (Contemporary Romance from Write Integrity Press)
Muffins & Moonbeams by Elizabeth Maddrey — Malachi Baxter is happy to hide in the background and manage the business-end of the family bakery. He’d much rather live in the online world of computer games where he can explore the galaxy and no one has to know he’s deaf. Ursula Franks designs websites during the day and spends her evenings battling alien races online where relationships are easy and uncomplicated. When she agrees to design a website for the local Community Supported Bakery, she has no idea that Malachi is the real man behind her online persona’s best friend and her own secret crush.As the two work together on the website, they uncover an attraction, but will they be able to put aside past hurt and insecurity to find love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Then Came You: A Bradford Sisters Novella by Becky Wade — Garner Bradford, heir to the troubled Bradford Shipping empire, doesn’t know much about babies. But he’s going to have to learn fast because he’s just become a single father to his newborn daughter. Career girl Kathleen Burke is wholly uninterested in settling down. She has big dreams, and none of them include Garner and his small hometown in Washington State. Yet she can’t seem to get her handsome boss out of her head or her heart…. (Romance Novella, Independently Published)
When the Bough Breaks by Ane Mulligan — Her dream job has a Catch 22—and time’s running outRookie lobbyist Sienna O’Shea is determined to make a name for herself in New York’s capitol city and use that influence to gain easier access to her birth records. For years she’s searched for her birth mother, but when she’s handed her first assignment—to lobby support for the permanent sealing of all adoption records—her worlds collide. Swept up into the intrigue of backroom politics, falling in love was not on Sienna’s agenda, but the candidate for Lt. Governor runs a formidable campaign to make her his first lady. When an investigative reporter discovers foreign money infiltrating political campaigns, the trail leads to Sienna’s inner circle. (General, Independently Published)
The Memory of You by Catherine West — Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her? (General from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])
Murder Is No Accident by A. H. Gabhart — When murder comes to call at a stately Victorian house, the town of Hidden Springs looks to Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane to solve the crime before anyone else dies. (Cozy Mystery from Revell [Baker])
A Rocky Mountain Romance by Misty M. Beller — When Zeche takes shelter from a blizzard in a remote cabin, he doesn’t expect to find a beautiful woman and her father, a disturbed Civil War veteran. Zeche’s instincts tell him Greta is endangered and he should stay and protect her, but his own presence aggravates her father’s condition. With a dangerous snowstorm outside and growing hostilities inside, can he find a way to keep them all safe from harm? Or will it be to the detriment of his heart? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot — From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners–like her. Lydia won’t let that get her down, though. All will be well when she’s reunited with her fiancé. But when she discovers he has disappeared–and that he left behind a pregnant wife–Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])
My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmela’s Quandary by Susan Page Davis — Experience the Wild West as Carmela seeks freedom of body and soul. Forced for years by her uncle to pose as a survivor of an Indian kidnapping so he can profit on the speaker circuit, she longs to end the lies. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with a deputy US marshal and his handcuffed prisoner. When the stage is attacked, will Carmela’s wish come true, or will she forever be branded by her past? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Desert Moon & Honor Bound by Susan Page Davis and Colleen L. Reece — Enjoy an Old West romance adventure from author Susan Page Davis. Julia Newman looked forward to moving home to Arizona, then she got word that her mother has died and Julie’s stagecoach is robbed. If that wasn’t enough, the first person she sees in town is Adam Scott—the man she always loved but could never have—and now he is accusing her brother of criminal activity. Also includes a bonus historical romance, Honor Bound by Colleen L. Reece. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Her Motherhood Wish by Keli Gwyn — En route to the Double T Orphanage to work on its expansion, carpenter Chip Evans and Caroline Hunt discover two orphaned children—and become their caregivers. But Chip’s determined not to let himself get too attached to the children who just lost their widowed father…or to the lovely woman helping him care for them. Especially since Callie and the little ones just don’t fit into his detailed plans for the future. Callie can’t help but fall in love with the orphans, and despite her better judgment, she’s falling for Chip, too. Her dreams of being a wife and mother were not quite like this. But Callie believes a plan bigger than Chip’s brought them all together…and now she just has to help him see it, too. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
The Planter’s Daughter by Michelle Shocklee — When her father’s Texas cotton plantation faces bankruptcy, Adella must choose between the man who can her family’s land and the man who can save her! (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin — When Quintessa Beaumont learns the US Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, eager to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. Lt. Dan Avery employs his skills in antisubmarine warfare to fight U-boats at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, but the last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving Tess. As Dan and Tess work together in Boston, the changes in Tess challenge his notions–and his heart. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])
Dcotor’s Dilemma by Richard L. Mabry M.D. — Young surgeon Tyler Gentry thought the offer to join the Hall Group of surgeons offered the answer to his problems, but things changed when he received a 3 AM phone call that told him such a move would be hazardous to his health. (Medical Suspense, Independently Published)
Her Baby’s Protector by Margaret Daley and Susan Sleeman — Saved by the Lawman by Margaret Daley: As an unknown assailant attempts to kidnap family-court judge Kate Forster’s infant son, police officer Chase Walker thwarts the attack—and vows to keep the pair safe. But who will protect the ex-marine’s heart when the widowed mother and her little boy make him long for a permanent spot in their family? Saved by the SEAL by Susan Sleeman: The tragedy that killed Bree Hatfield’s best friends–and left her with custody of their young daughter–has been ruled an accident. But Bree knows it was murder. Scared and alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, navy SEAL Clint Reed, who’ll risk everything to protect baby Ella and the woman he never stopped loving. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Agent-in-Training by Terri Reed — FBI intern Zara Fielding and her K-9 partner, Radar, stumble across a robbery gone wrong and put themselves in the criminals’ crosshairs. Her childhood friend FBI computer guru Dylan O’Leary works for the secretive FBI unit she longs to join, and he vows not to let anything happen to her. As they work to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, new feelings ignite. When she goes missing, it’s only Dylan–and Radar–who can track her down. Will they arrive in time to save her and the future she and Dylan have started dreaming about? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Ingrid’s Engagement by Kristen Reed — When King Viggo marches through the kingdom of Schlagefilde in a relentless quest for retribution against its wicked king, the Count of Anselm attempts to make peace with him. As the two strike a deal that will protect the people of Anselm, the King of Villriket becomes enthralled with a portrait of the Count’s oldest daughter, Ingrid. The vengeful king vows that he will leave Edmund’s county in peace if he will allow him to marry Ingrid. To prevent her father from incurring the sovereign’s wrath, the young lady hastily agrees and enters into an unforeseen engagement with the grim ruler. Ingrid’s Engagement tells the enchanting tale of a beautiful young woman who softens the hardened heart of a beastly king with nothing more than her quiet wisdom and gentle spirit. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)