The book I’ll read this weekend is . . .

Don’t you love it when you learn one of your favorite authors has a new book available?

Regina Scott is one of my favorite authors. I first began reading her historical romances at least fifteen (or more!) years ago.

Some of her stories are light-hearted and fun; some have an element of suspense. No matter the plot or premise, I can always count on an entertaining read.

So I was pleased to learn Harlequin Love Inspired has published her latest novel, His Frontier Christmas Family.

Cover_His Frontier Christmas Family

It’s book seven in Regina’s Frontier Bachelor series, but it’s a great book that stands alone … no need to read previous books in the series to enjoy this one.

Britt Reads Fiction (my go-to site for book reviews) just posted a five-star review of His Frontier Christmas Family, and I’ve already pegged it as the book I plan to cozy up with this weekend to help get me in the Christmas spirit. I’m so looking forward to reading it!

I have a few more Christmas-themed novels to read in the days leading up to Christmas, but Regina Scott’s books stand out for me as some of my favorite all-time reads.

How about you? Is there an author whose books you never fail to read and enjoy?

 

Short Stories by Grace Livingston Hill

If you’re a fan of Grace Livingston Hill, you may know a lot about her life and her books. I thought I did; and I thought I’d read all her books. For proof I have a good collection of her vintage hard-backs on my bookshelves at home.

But something I didn’t realize until recently was how much Grace wrote for magazines and newspapers.

For years she wrote a weekly newspaper column dedicated to the Christian Endeavor movement.

Evening Star Jul 11 1903
Grace’s byline in 1903. From her regular column in the Washington, D.C. newspaper, Evening Star.

She also wrote short stories and serialized books for a number of different magazines.

I came across a couple of those old magazine issues not too long ago; and once I began to read Grace’s short stories, I knew I had to find more. I’ve been on a mission to find her stories ever since.

It’s tough going. Magazines from about 1900 to 1910 (when Grace was at the height of her short-story production) are hard to find. And some of the magazines she wrote for went out of business  long ago—their records ending up who-knows-where.

But I’ve been faithfully searching for those old magazines and I’ve had some success.

And each time I find a new story by Grace Livingston Hill, I realize what a gem it is and I have to share it!

I’ve reproduced some of her short stories on the Isabella Alden blog. You can click on the images to read the stories for free:

Beginning at Jerusalem Cover

Hazel Cunninghams Denial

You can also find a collection of some of Grace’s early short stories in Faith and Love. It’s a compilation of stories by Grace and by her mother, Marcia Livingston. The book is available on Amazon.com. You can click on the link to learn more and read an excerpt.

Cover_Story Collection

I hope you enjoy reading these hard-to-find gems as much I did!

Taking Control of Clutter . . . Again

In my spare time (IS there such a thing???) this week I’ve been cleaning up the clutter in my garage.

I’ve done it before (actually, I’ve done it several times before) but the clutter keeps coming back. It starts out small. Usually, when I’m in a hurry, I will set something down on the workbench “just until I have time to put it away.”

Garage clutter
I take comfort in knowing my garage does not look quite this bad. Still, it’s bad enough.

Of course, I never get around to putting the item where it belongs. And since it looks so lonely out of place by itself, I end up putting other things with it, until I have a jumbled pile of items begging for a home. Even worse, I’ve lost track of what’s in the pile.

Is it any wonder I can’t find what I’m looking for?

I’ve read enough about this syndrome to know I’m not alone. Clutter is rampant in American garages just like mine.

Einstein Quote

And it’s rampant on American desks, too. Desks like mine.

This is another area where I can show my true colors as a Pile Person. I have piles for everything on my desk, and each pile is important. At least, I think they’re all important. But since I haven’t looked through any of the piles in months, I can’t be sure, because I don’t remember what’s in those piles.

Here’s an example. One pile consists of ten 3.25″ disks. They’re all clearly labeled, so I know they contain information I’m going to need someday. Although neither my PC nor laptop read 3.25″ disks, I still hang on to them, even though the documents they contain are lost forever because I can’t access them because I can’t read the disks. It’s a vicious cycle.

Messy Desk in my Head

I don’t know why I tend to collect things in piles. I will probably have to invest in a minimum of seven to ten therapy sessions to figure it out.

But I can say that when I get the urge to go through my clutter—as I did this week in the garage—and sort and organize and discard, I feel great!

Clutter Fairy

In fact, I felt so great I immediately rewarded myself with a bowl of ice cream and the words, “You deserve it.”  Maybe ice cream and the chance to strut around the house like a winner is sufficient encouragement to make me tackle all that clutter on my desk.

Or maybe not.

Best Blog Post of the Week

I subscribe to about twenty blogs, not that many when you consider the millions of possibilities out there. But with a day job and writing the Isabella Alden blog and all the tasks associated with it, my time always seems to disappear each day before I run out of things to do. Hence my short list of blogs I make a point of reading.

One blog I never miss is InspyRomance, published jointly by a group of contemporary Christian fiction writers. InspyRomance is where I get to know the people who write the books I most enjoy reading, and learn about their successes and new book releases.

Last month Staci Stallings began a series of posts titled, In the Temple. I always enjoy Staci’s clear, straight-forward writing style; and in these posts, she didn’t disappoint me. In fact, she couldn’t have been more clear and straight-forward!

Her Part II post last Monday about the meaning of “the Temple”—where Mary and Joseph found Jesus after the Passover feast—was a mini revelation to me.

Have you ever read a blog post that made the light bulb go off in your head? That’s how I felt after reading Staci’s Part II post. Her message was a beautiful little nugget of truth that left me wondering how I’ve lived so many years not “getting” the point of the the New Testament story of Jesus in the Temple.

If you missed them, you can read the posts here:

In the Temple, Part I

In the Temple, Part II

I’ve re-read the posts every day this week as part of my morning prayers and devotions. They’re beautiful reminders to me of Christ’s true and constant presence in my life (whether I recognize it or not).

I hope you’ll check out Staci’s posts and let me know if they have a ring of truth for you, too.

 

 

Some Love for My Home Town

Every day I thank God that I live in Denver, Colorado. I love everything about the city, from its great year-round weather to its beautiful scenery. I even featured part of the downtown skyline on the cover of my novel, Ask Me Again (that’s the “cash register” building in the background on the left, as seen from Washington Park).

Cover for Social Media01

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks Denver is downright awesome. Today U.S. News and World Report released their annual list of the best places to live, and Denver drew the Number 1 spot! You can read the article here.

I’ve always been a little partial to the place myself, and I love taking advantage of all the city has to offer. Just last weekend I was in my usual center seat at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts when they presented A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the 2014 Tony winner for Best Musical. Here’s a performance of one of my favorite scenes from the play:

I had such a good time and laughed a lot! I hope you get a chance to see a production of this clever, music-filled romp about love, murder, and the British aristocracy.

And please come visit Denver and see for yourself how great a place it is to live. There’s always room for more!