OH, BABY! 20 weeks

Terri grinned as a sudden gust of wind molded her flowing shirt around the baby bump that was quickly becoming a baby belly. She sat in the porch swing while her friends pulled chairs into a loose circle. The swing rocked, and she gave an extra shove to set it more firmly in motion. The summer breeze carried the scents of fresh cut grass, roses blooming on the trellis, and, from somewhere up the street, grilled burgers. She tilted her head back and took in a deep breath of summer while her hands circled the growing mound of baby growing under her heart. Twenty weeks and counting.

“That’s a picture perfect moment of contentment.”

Terri straightened at Pam’s comment, grinning at the three smiles pointed her way. “There just aren’t words.”

Karla handed Terri a piece of cheesecake and took her seat. “For?”

“For this whole experience. I know you guys have all been through it, more than once, but I can’t imagine anything being quite this special ever again. Every day I find a new feeling or emotion.” She studied her friends as her hands went back to her stomach. “Every day, I just love this little person inside of me so much more than the day before.” Her voice cracked as her eyes filled tears. She waved a hand in front of her face. “Never mind me, I’m hormonal.” She grinned through the tears. “Isn’t it great?”

Callie chucked. “You waited a long time for this. It’s only right that you enjoy every moment.”

Terri scooped a bite of cake onto her fork and lifted it in a salute to her friend’s words. She brought it to her mouth and froze in mid motion. Her startled, indrawn breath brought three pair of eyes her way.

“What?” Karla asked.

Terri lowered the fork and sat very still, not sure she’d actually felt what she hoped she’d felt. “Shhh…wait for it.” She focused all her senses and held her breath. There…as light as butterfly wings…as insistent as popcorn popping inside a bag. Joy exploded in her heart with the first physical flutters of her baby’s presence. Her hands returned to her swollen middle as her eyes grew misty again. “Oh, baby!!”

While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. You will notice some changes. I've relieved the women of their individual pages. The titles have changed, the content is the same. Our AUTHOR SPOT LIGHT guest is Linda Weaver. Linda is here to talk about her new book, THE REBELS OF CORDOVIA.  Linda will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. In this week's SNEAK PIQUE, KARLA ADKINS gives us an advance look at her new book THE PASTORS WIFE WEARS BIKER'S BOOTS.

SUMMER, SUMMER, SUMMER! What a fabulous season for taking a break and enjoying some good books! Is your TBR (To Be Read) pile getting low? Is it towering high but you are ALWAYS excited for a new book to add?

The novels below all released in the last month! Which one is most likely to make your summer reading pile? Cast your vote now. And don't forget to send some love and encouragement to our authors via the comments section. =)

Happy Voting!

Five Days in Skye

An American businesswoman falls for her celebrity chef client while on a business trip to Scotland. Will she find the courage to take another chance on love?

A Heart Deceived

Miri Brayden must keep her brother's descent into lunacy a secret, or he’ll be committed to an asylum—and she’ll be sent to the poor house. When Ethan Goodwin, an opium addict on the run, shows up on her doorstep, her balancing act falls to pieces.

Grace's Pictures

Grace McCaffery must trust a handsome policeman for help when her new Brownie camera gets her in trouble with a gang who thinks it containsthe first and only photos of their elusive leader. But her experience with the police back in Ireland makes that difficult, and she must decide if God has sent her help in an unlikely disguise.

A Melody for James

Melody Mason and James Montgomery lead separate lives of discord until an unexpected meeting brings them to a sinister realization: unbeknownst to them, dark forces have directed their lives from the shadows, orchestrating movements, keeping them singing solo. Fire, loss, and bloodshed can't shake their faith in God to see them through as they face a percussive climax that leaves hearts forever changed.

Blowing On Dandelions

In Miralee Ferrell’s captivating historical romance Blowing on Dandelions, Katherine Galloway struggles to overcome family dysfunction when her controlling mother moves in. Will Frances threaten Katherine’s budding relationship with Micah Jacobs, the new blacksmith, or is there hope that love can still break through?

***Since the COTT article had a Tuesday deadline, I posted it early this week. OH, BABY   20 WEEKS will post Tuesday night. While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. You will notice some changes. I've relieved the women of their individual pages. The titles have changed, the content is the same. Our AUTHOR SPOT LIGHT guest is Linda Weaver. Linda is here to talk about her new book, THE REBELS OF CORDOVIA.  Linda will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. In this week's SNEAK PIQUE, KARLA ADKINS gives us an advance look at her new book THE PASTORS WIFE WEARS BIKER'S BOOTS.

Previous Laurel Champ, Karen Witemeyer, Releases Another Bestseller

Clash of the Titles' Laurel Award is in full swing with submissions just having closed and judges itching to get started. It'll be another three mail-biting months before the winner of the 2013 Laurel is announced. In the meantime, COTT continues to shine the light on its past winners, including Karen Witemeyer whose novel, "A Tailor-made Bride" won the 2011 Laurel. Today, COTT brings you her latest, "Stealing the Preacher."

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

"Stealing the Preacher":

The author shares why she wrote the book:
"After the amazing response to the Archer brothers depicted in Short-Straw Bride, I couldn't wait to craft a stand-alone story for Crockett, the charmer of the Archer clan. First, I had a gang of over-the-hill outlaws steal him from a train then tangled him up with the gang leader's daughter, a heroine with enough sense to look beneath his charm and sufficient spirit to fight for what she wants. Finally, since Crockett is no ordinary preacher, but a gun-toting rancher with a gift for doctoring . . . well, that meant a plot full of scrapes, trouble, and untold shenanigans. But amid the adventure and romance lies a heartrending tale of God's pursuit of a single lost soul." --Karen Witemeyer

About Karen:
After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she
earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.


Terri sucked in a surprised breath and squeezed her husband’s hand as Dr. Rayburn squirted icy cold gel onto her belly. “Geeze…”
Dr. Rayburn smiled. “Sorry.”
Callie stood on the other side of the table. Terri glared at her. “Why is everything in this office so dang cold?”
“It’s a conspiracy.”
“Umm. I…”  Whatever Terri had been about to say died as a loud whooshing noise filled the room. She smiled up into the blue eyes of her husband. “Listen.”
He leaned down and placed a quick kiss on her mouth.
 “Listen to our baby.” Terri whispered against his lips.
“That’s a good, strong heartbeat.” Dr. Rayburn handed the Doppler to Callie and made some notes in the chart before reaching for a second piece of equipment.
Terri studied the ultrasound transducer. It looked like a fat, rounded ice scraper. It was the first piece of equipment in this office that was actually warm.
“You guys sure about this?” Dr. Rayburn asked.
Terri looked to her husband for confirmation and nodded her head. “We want to see, but we don’t want to know what it is. Will that be a problem?”
The old doctor shook his head. “Hard to tell what you’re seeing in these things if you don’t know what you’re looking for. We’ll note the sex in your chart just in case you change your mind later.” He tapped the monitor on a roll away table beside him. “Here we go. Watch the screen.”
Terri studied the shifting images that played across the screen as the doctor moved the transducer around on her abdomen. High, low, side to side. The screen remained a blur.
Dr. Rayburn frowned. “He, and I use that term for lack of anything better, is playing hide and seek with us.”
The seconds ticked away and suddenly the images on the screen came into sharp focus.
“Here we are.” Dr. Rayburn held the machine steady and called out some measurements to Callie who made notes in Terri’s chart. He smiled at Terri and pointed to the screen. “There’s your baby’s head. See that little bump? That’s a nose.” He traced a line with his finger tip. “Spine.” The finger continued around and up. “And a foot.”
Terri watched in wonder as her baby shifted in movements she still couldn’t feel.  Something different blurred onto the screen. “What’s that?”
Dr. Rayburn grinned. “A hand. You’re being waved at.”
Terri looked up at her husband. The awe on his face perfectly matched the feeling in her heart. She turned back to the screen and watched for a few more seconds. “Oh baby…”

***While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. You will notice some changes. I've relieved the women of their individual pages. The titles have changed, the content is the same. Our AUTHOR SPOT LIGHT guest is Linda Goodnight. Linda is here to talk about her new book, A BABY IN HIS ARMS.  Linda will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. In this week's SNEAK PIQUE, Kathleen Y'Barbo gives us an advance look at her new book MILLIE'S TREASURE.

A Healing Heart, the Latest in Abingdon's Quilts of Love Series.

Clash of the Titles brings you the latest in Christian fiction.

If you enjoy fiction, romance, or quilts, you'll want to check out today's featured new release. If you love all three, you'll want to run (not walk!) to your nearest bookstore--or for Amazon.com shoppers, click the cover image below.

A Healing Heart
by Angela Breidenbach

About A Healing Heart:
Will Joel help Mara or take everything she has left? Mara Keegan is an uber-successful mother and a widow of three years. She's been chasing success and all the "good things in life" for her family to make up for the cruel whim God played on them by taking her husband. In an effort to be the perfect mom, she decides to make a photo memory quilt, a graduation present for her daughter, Cadence.

She's not yet finished when she experiences a heart attack. How can Mara trust the one man who nearly destroyed her life and business? While Mara recuperates, she's forced to face her physically and spiritually broken heart. The memory quilt must be finished in time for Cadence's big day, but Mara struggles with her burgeoning feelings for the man who must keep Mara's business going during her recovery, Joel Ryan. Can Joel find his way into Mara's heart and onto Cadence's quilt? Or will he betray a vulnerable woman and her children?


Praise for A Healing Heart:
“A heart-warming and romantic story of new beginnings and hope through the fog. A story of real life filled with true emotion and characters you can't help but love.”
—NY Times bestselling author, Tosca Lee, www.toscalee.com
Tosca’s latest book: Iscariot

“A Healing Heart is an emotional story of learning to let go of the past and embracing the future. Angie Breidenbach deftly creates lifelike teenagers, a frazzled mother, and a caring hero you will love. This charming book tugs at your heart and encourages you to reevaluate what’s important in your life.”
—Vickie McDonough, author of 25 books and novellas, including End of the Trail

About the author:
 Angela Breidenbach is a captivating speaker, coach, and author of A Healing Heart, April 2013 from Abingdon Press in the Quilts of Love series. Her family tradition is to create the life story on a photo memory quilt for each graduating senior. She is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a CTA life coach, as a Stephen Minister, and a weight loss/nutrition coach. Follow humorous #Muse (the cat) posts as he prowls around facebook and twitter.
Twitter/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/AngelaBreidenbachInspirationalSpeakerAuthor



Terri tapped her foot and paged through a dog eared magazine. She looked at the clock on the wall and then her watch. Come on already!! She glanced around the room from under her lashes. The room was packed with women in all stages of pregnancy, sprinkled here and there with new mothers rocking their babies. It gave her a moment of satisfaction to, finally, be counted among their number. Her deep breath reminded her of her next errand. She needed clothes. The jeans she had on were her “fat day” jeans and they were barely buttoned. She wasn’t complaining.
At last! She scrambled from her chair and approached the staging room. Callie stood in the doorway. Terri raised her brows.  “Hey there, doing double duty today?”
Callie grinned. “Just for you. I’m almost as anxious for this as you are.”
“Not even possible.” Terri submitted to the routine blood pressure, weight check, and temperature taking. She remained convinced that this part of the appointment was a conspiracy by the medical community to make already hormonal women crazy. Gratitude infused her as she followed Callie back to the exam room.
Callie patted the table. “Hop up there, raise your shirt, and unsnap your jeans.  Dr. Rayburn should be right here.”
Terri obeyed her friend, situating herself on the table, belly bared.
Callie patted the gently rounded mound of Terri’s tummy, rubbing the red indention left by the jeans. “Time to fix that.”
“Next on the list.” She grabbed Callie’s hand as a knock sounded on the door. “Stay with me?”
Callie squeezed her hand. “Of course. Nervous?”
‘No, just…excited.” She shrugged at Callie expression. “Maybe a little nervous.”
Both women were silent as Dr. Rayburn prepared the Doppler. Terri cringed as he applied the cold gel and began to move the machine in small circles across her belly. She held her breath. Please be there.
The room filled with a gentle swishing, finally growing louder when Dr. Rayburn pressed the Doppler low on her belly and held it in place.
 Tears of wonder filled Terri's eyes. It was the sweetest sound she'd ever heard.She looked over at Callie, unsurprised to see the sheen of tears there as well. The music of her baby’s heartbeat continued to fill the room.  Terri closed her eyes and let it sink in. Oh, Baby!!!

***While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. Terri welcomes Christine Lindsay to her library.  Christine is here to talk about her book CAPTURED BY MOONLIGHT. Christine will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. Karla welcomes Julianna Deering and Becky Harling to her page for a sneak peak at their upcoming releases. Callie has a devotion prepared for us by Penny McGinnisPam has a brand new recipe for Dorito Chicken and cheese casserole.*** 

May New Release Clash Winner

We had some amazing stories come out this past month. Each one poised to captivate your imagination, from overcoming great odds together, to chance meetings with a dashing earl, switchboard encounters of the handsome kind, a mysterious vanishing, and a prince's choice.

Thank you to Joselyn Vaughn author of Climbing Heartbreak Hill, Vanessa Riley author of Madeline's Protector, Lorna Seilstad author of When Love Calls, and Deborah Raney author of The Face of the Earth for participating in our clash.

And Now, Clash of the Titles presents the May New Release Winner...
Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck!

Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.

From the Clash of the Titles Commenters
Once Upon a Prince has all the ingredients needed to make for a wonderful summer read!

Loved loved loved Once Upon A Prince! gave it 5 stars on Goodreads!

Rachel, I couldn't stop reading this one! Wonderful love story! Love the cover!

What Reviewers Are Saying
Hauck spins a surprisingly believable royal-meets-commoner love story. This is modern and engaging tale with well-developed secondary characters that are entertaining and add a quirky touch. Hauck fans will find a gem of a tale.  – Starred Review Publisher’s Weekly

Readers Love It
Recently finished "Once Upon a Prince." Absolutely LOVED it! A perfect summer (or fall or winter or spring, for that matter) read. It was the best book I have read in a l-o-n-g time! You have set the bar high, Rachel!

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series. She penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time in 2004.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board of American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference

Here next book, Princess Ever After, releases in February 2014.

Visit her web site at http://www.rachelhauck.com