Friday, December 30, 2011

My Two Tanyas!

I can't wait to introduce you to two remarkable women: Tanya Hanson and Tanya Stowe. These lovely--and very talented--ladies write for White Rose Publishing, and their friendship is precious to me.

They both have new releases out, and I'm using today's post to give you a glimpse!

First, let me tell you about Tanya Hanson's book, Right to Bragg. This is her latest installment in the award winning Hearts Crossing Ranch series:


Disowned by her family, Tiffany Vickers faces a lonely Christmas and takes great comfort in the baby boy in her care. Her faith is in tatters, and she guards her heart against the baby's uncle, handsome cowboy, Bragg Martin.

It's the season for forgiveness, and while Bragg longs to open his heart and family to the lovely nanny, he doesn't understand her interest in his arch enemy. Saving a man's life and saving Tiffany's faith bring the couple together...and home to Hearts Crossing Ranch.


A storm might be brewing, but all Bragg Martin had left to do on this Friday afternoon was chuck off his boots and settle in for a long winter’s nap. Horses ridden, cattle tended, chores done and year-end accounts worked on, and he’d even gotten the dreaded Christmas shopping over and done with.

After he threw on a load of logs, he sprawled happily on the couch in the ranch house’s big front room. The phone rang. Not a muscle moved. With the giant family he had, there was always somebody else to do things he didn’t really want to.

Like get up and answer it.

But the ugly thing didn’t shut up, and with a groan, he hauled his bones to the land line in Pa’s office. Well, it was his big brother’s office now, but Hooper and his new fiancĂ©e Mallie were off decorating her aunt and uncle’s Christmas tree. He sprawled all over this couch and mumbled into the receiver.

“Hearts Crossing.”

“Who is this? Bragg?” His sister Rachel came over the line, amped up, which wasn’t one whit like her. Her mannerisms were always cool, logical attorney.

“Yep. You OK?” For a flash, some alarm tweaked him.

“Yeah, I just need a favor.”

“All righty.” It was the season of giving, after all.

Relief rattled her voice. “Thank God. Ma and Mrs. Densmore are off on that one-horse-open-sleigh caroling thing with Ella’s kindergarten class.”

Bragg smiled at mention of his little niece.

“And I can’t find Scott.”

“Off shopping.” Bragg sniffed at the poor sap.

“Then it’s you. I need you to go babysit Matty.”

“What?” Babysit Matty? His five-month old nephew? Sure Bragg had been raised by equal-opportunity parents, but babysitting an infant wasn’t exactly stuff for a single guy.

“I’m stuck in Rustic Canyon at a deposition. We’re running late. Chelsea’s with him now, but she’s got a date.”

Their other sister Kelley wasn’t due back in town until Christmas Eve, but he had one more brother to ramrod into the task since the newlywed Pike was still on his honeymoon.

“You got the wrong dude, sis. Get Kenn. He and Christy’ll be having kids of their own someday.”

“No. They’ve got Kenn’s faculty Christmas party. It’s you. You’re the only one left. Please? It’s just until Tiffany gets back.”

He grunted. Last week Rachel’s new paralegal slash au-pair had flirted with him with great enthusiasm at Pike and Daisy’s wedding reception, but downright snubbed him when he asked her out. Not number one on his favorite person list, because things like that just didn’t happen to Bragg Martin.

“So where’s she now?”

“Tiffany asked for a personal day.”

A personal day already? What, after two weeks? He tried hard to wiggle out. “Can’t you find somebody from church? I don’t know how to change a diaper.”

Rachel laughed, so he reckoned she believed he’d caved, and she started her closing arguments. “Now, now. You put the little cloth tee-pee over his you-know-what so he doesn’t shower you. If it’s the other, there’s plenty of wet wipes. Then you tape up the sides of the dy-dee. It’s not rocket science.”


“And there’s plenty of breast milk in little bottles in the fridge…”

That did it. “Raaaaaache…” he wailed.

Rachel ignored him “…to put in the microwave for thirty seconds.”

He groaned. Nothing against nature, but…

His big sister went all attorney, now. “Grow up, Bragg. It looks and works like any other milk. Now, hurry. Chelsea can show you where everything is before she leaves. And sweetie, thanks. I owe you.”

“That you do.” Then he recalled where she was. The icy road from Rustic Canyon could be a hard one in rough weather. “Rache, be careful out there. I think we’ve got a storm coming in.”

He could hear her smile over the line. All his brothers protected their womenfolk no matter how loud the gals roared. “I will, little brother. Nick’s got me the best snow tires there are. And I’ve driven in these parts longer than you. Now, Tiffany should be there by six. You can handle it.”

Or not. Hanging up, spirits dark, he climbed back into his boots. Not that he didn’t just love the little guy to death. But what a time for all his siblings to have their own agendas.

Nobody locked doors around here, but he did switch on the Christmas lights, even though it wasn’t exactly dark yet. Just to welcome everybody when they finally made their way back. Plus, Hearts Crossing looked pretty, all lit up. Climbing into a thick wool jacket with fleece lining, he tossed on his Stetson and set off for Mountain Cove, about eight miles away. Driving his big truck under the post gate hung with its brand –two interlocking hearts with intersecting cross— always calmed him down. Today was even better, all strung with lights. This ranch was home, and he was blessed to live here.


Tanya Hanson is a fantastic author. Her stories are told with such a beautiful, engaging voice. She's great at creating a gripping storyline that both wins your heart, and keeps you turning pages. Beyond those skills, however, is Hanson’s ability to draw you into a scene by engaging each of the reader’s senses. That’s a tremendous skill that lends power to her writing, and story-telling.

Right to Bragg upholds my high expectations with flair, and a touching dash of love and emotion -- can't wait for what's next from this talented author!

Next, say a big hello to Tanya Stowe! Tanya's release is White Christmas, part of the White Rose Publishing Christmas Extravaganza!


After his very public break-up from his fiancĂ©, Chad Fletcher is convinced that a healthy marriage and his rising political career won’t mix, and Christmas at his Aunt Nell’s home in White, Arizona is a great way to start fresh.

Political watch dog, Tessa Conway, plans to spend her vacation enjoying her grandparents’ ranch before they must sell it, so she is not pleased with Grandma Sophie and Aunt Nell’s efforts to throw her and Chad together.

Chad begins to believe Tessa may be the perfect antidote to his unhealthy relationships of the past, but when he decides to take support from a company with questionable ethics, his perfect bubble is burst.

Fearing Chad is not the Godly man she believed him to be, Tessa ends their budding romance. Will Chad find the strength and courage to do what’s right even if it costs him his career?


“I don’t know why you insist on wearing those ridiculous things. How can you see?” Aunt Nell asked, rubbing her hands against the cold evening air.

Chad Fletcher pulled his baseball cap lower and pushed the large, black-framed lenses further up his nose. “These were the biggest, ugliest, glasses I could find in the store,” he said, studying the nearby Christmas carolers dressed in scarves, mittens and matching earmuffs. “People usually don’t recognize me when I’m wearing them.”

Nell made a sound that, if Chad didn’t know his proper little white-haired great-aunt better, sounded almost like a snort. “If you spent more time focusing on your job as state assemblyman and less time in the social pages, you wouldn’t have to disguise yourself.”

“Ex-job, Aunt Nell, ex-job. My term has ended, remember? I’m a free man, here to rest, relax, and recuperate before I get back to real life.”

“Real life,” she said. “As if we don’t live real lives here in White.” She made the sound again and Chad smiled.

The small rural Arizona community was as far removed from the high profile life he lived in Phoenix as it could be. Even as a child, visiting his mother’s aunt had been his favorite way to spend the summer. Time with Aunt Nell and working as a teenager for the local ranchers had taught him more about life than all of his family’s country club years in Tucson.

His aunt knew how he felt, so when he took her arm and squeezed, she smiled and patted it back.

“Come on,” he said. “Tell me about the festivities. I’ve been hearing you talk about White’s Twelve Days of Christmas for so long, I can’t wait to see it.”

“Well, as you can see, this is the kick-off event. Main Street is blocked off. We’ve got carolers on this side, a brass combo over there, and Santa Claus right next door. He’ll be giving out bags of treats and hot chocolate. The line started forming to see him about five o’clock.”

“I don’t remember those Victorian light posts.”

“They weren’t here last time you were. At first, I thought they were an expense we didn’t need but when they put them up, well, I’ve grown quite fond of them. They remind me of my childhood.”

“Which wasn’t such a long time ago,” Chad said.

“Hush! It’s a wonder they let you talk at all on the chamber floor. You’re so full of nonsense.” This time she slapped playfully at his hand and he grabbed it.

“You’re freezing,” he said, worry for his seventy-year-old aunt filling him. “Why don’t you put on your gloves?”

“I left them in the car.”

“It’s cold enough to snow. I’ll go back and get them.”

“No, don’t worry about it. I don’t want you to miss the lighting ceremony. They turn everything on at the same time. The lamp posts, the giant snowflakes attached to them and those two huge Christmas trees over there. All the houses for blocks around Main Street turn on their lights, too. It’s my favorite part.”

He turned to see the two trees, situated in the large plaza called Pioneer Square. The trees were well over fifteen feet and decorated with lights and multi-colored bulbs. “You said they start at six? That’s ten minutes away. I’ll be gone and back before then.”

“You might miss it. Just wait a few more minutes.”

Chad studied his aunt’s face and realized she was searching the crowd for something…or someone.

“Aunt Nell, what are you up to?”

Suddenly, her face lit up and she smiled. “Look, there’s Sophie and Jim Conway. Their grand-daughter’s here for Christmas, you know.”

“Aunt Nell, you promised. No more matchmaking.”

“I didn’t promise. I know myself better than that. Besides, you need a good, small-town girl who will keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.”

“I’ve had enough romance to last a lifetime,” he said, his tone tight.

She shook her head. “Your engagement wasn’t a romance. It was a circus complete with performing monkeys and paparazzi.”


Take two loving, and match-making relatives, throw in the spice of political intrigue and a dash of romantic Christmas magic and you’ve got all the makings of a heart-racing, and heart-warming holiday romance.

In the pages of White Christmas, Tanya Stowe creates a world of intrigue and enough romantic chemistry to warm even the chilliest winter nights. I fell in love with Chad and Tessa, and rooted for them from the very first page.

Christmas may have passed for 2011, but there’s still plenty of winter left to enjoy a curl-up romance by this wonderful author. Pick up a copy of White Christmas, and enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome, April Gardner & Warring Spirits

There’s a party going on!!

Historical fiction author April W Gardner is celebrating the release of Warring Spirits, the second book in her Creek Country Saga! Everyone who purchases Warring Spirits on Amazon today, Thursday, December 15, 2011, will be entered into SIX different drawings for some cool and unique prizes. That’s right—ONE purchase. SIX chances to win.


She’s also giving away personalized, signed book plates (labels for the inside cover). One for every book you purchase. That’s a lot of bang for your buck. Order today and cross a few names off your Christmas list!

So what’s this book about? Warring Spirits is the sequel to Wounded Spirits, April’s Grace Award winning debut novel. Here’s a bit about today’s featured novel:

Where blood is spilt, unexpected love may bloom.

In 1816 Georgia, escaped slaves control the land just beyond the American border in Las Floridas. Lost somewhere between white and black worlds, Milly follows hope to the only place that can offer her refuge—the place Georgians are calling Negro Fort. The first, sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. Death would be more welcome.

Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters. Forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh—Phillip primes himself for battle. But inside, a war already rages—return for the woman he thought lost to him or concede her to the enemy she loves; follow orders or follow his heart.

Sound intriguing? Head over to APRIL'S PLACE to learn more! Or go straight to AMAZON to get your copy.

Books excerpts are a great way to get a feel for the author’s writing style, so I asked April to share a scene with us. Here’s a taste of chapter one when we’re introduced to the hero, Major Phillip Bailey.


Phillip knew it was a dream. He told himself again, though it did little good. The children’s shrieks grew louder. The flaming pickets roared with new life, as though fueled by his denial of their existence.
His legs churned, but he couldn’t free his mind of the constant nightmare. At least this time, he reasoned, he wasn’t awake. Small blessings.
And then, he saw her.
Arms dangling at her sides and skirt undulating in the waves of heat, she stood across the compound. Her lips were motionless, but her voice echoed through his mind. “Phillip.”
He rushed toward the vision, and she reached for him. “Phillip, love, you must wake up.”
With a cry, he bolted upright.
The silhouette of a woman hovered over him. He stared at her, unblinking, afraid to move and frighten her away.
Sweat poured down his chest—sweat as real as the shadow seemed.
“That’s better,” she whispered. “You’ll be alright.”
He disagreed, but if he spoke, he might shatter her. He’d done it before.
Her loose hair swayed as she moved so near, he should feel her heat.
Taking in the comfort of her presence, he held his breath until his lungs burned with need. Refusing to be contained any longer, air exploded from his mouth. The sound ripped through the cabin, and in one blink, Adela vanished.
A moan built in Phillip’s throat, and he buried his head in his trembling palms. When his fingers collided with the jagged flesh on his face, he recalled again why Adela was no more to him than a mocking shadow, a figment of his deluded, half-crazed mind.
She had turned him down.
Familiar nausea haunted his gut. With a growl, he threw his damp pillow across the room. The sound of splintering glass sent him scrambling for the musket by his bed. He had the unsteady barrel aimed toward the source before he realized he’d been the cause of the commotion.
He dropped the weapon and backed away from it as though it were a copperhead. Blood pounded in his throat. He swallowed hard, terrified of his own mind.
It had been nearly two years. One more night of this and he would prove the gossip correct. He would go mad.
There had to be a better way.
“Help me.” His voice shivered, and for once, he was thankful to be alone. “Sweet Jesus, show me a better way.”


Get on over to APRIL'S PLACE to see what all the hoopla's about! Or go straight to AMAZON to get your copy.

About April:
April W Gardner resides in Georgia with her USAF husband and two sweet kiddos. She is the author of the historical romance series, the Creek Country Saga, as well as the children’s adventure series, the Channel Islands Resistance. She is the founder and senior editor of the fun literary website, Clash of the Titles. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

Welcome Back, Clare Revell!

Clare Revell revisits the blog today, and I'm highlighting her Christmas release, Time's Arrow!


Joni Peterson is catapulted through time into a world both familiar and strange. Finding herself in Victorian England, she discovers love in the most unexpected place— at the feet of the man whose carriage knocked her down.

Lord Sebastian Tyler needs to remarry, but preferably not to a woman of his mother’s choosing. The woman his carriage runs over both irritates and fascinates him, but could she be the answer to his prayers?

Will the arrow of love find them before time runs out and history rights itself?


It was a dark and stormy night. The wind howled as the masked man stalked towards the near-empty mansion...

Jonni tossed the book to one side as the phone beeped. It was bad enough listening to the wind rattling the windows of the huge manor house, without reading about it, too.

In six weeks when Dawn, and her new husband Gabriel, returned from their honeymoon, Jonni would tell them to buy some new books for their library. With a whole room of floor-to-ceiling shelves, they should have something other than just classics and gothic horror.

Gabriel, being an author, not to mention an earl, should know better.

Jonni shook her head at the thought of her friend being the mistress of this huge house. Dawn was the last person Jonni’d imagine married to an earl—after herself. That only happened in fairy tales.

She picked up the phone as it beeped again. House sitting for them was all well and good, but once Christmas and New Year’s were out of the way, she had to find a new job—working for her ex-boyfriend and ex-boss wasn’t an option.

She looked at the screen. This would make it twelve texts, and it wasn’t even lunchtime. Jonni let out a deep sigh and shook her head. “Which part of no don’t you understand, Bryan? Is it the ‘n’ or the ‘o’ or the combining of the two letters you don’t quite comprehend?”

Jonni. I’m sorry. I love you. Forgive me. B xxx

“No, you don’t. You just can’t run that office without me. Love doesn’t mean cheating because I refuse to sleep with you.”

She started to tap out a reply, then stopped and closed her eyes. Lord, help me here. Give me the words to get the message across to him this time. Jonni cancelled the text and rang Bryan’s office. If he was in a meeting, his new secretary could take a message.

The call picked up on the second ring. “Mr. Rains’s secretary. How may I help you?”

“I’d like to speak to Mr. Rains, please. It’s Miss Peterson.”

“One moment, I’ll put you through.”

Almost immediately, Bryan’s voice echoed in her ear.

"Jonni, baby. Thanks for calling back. You must be having a busy vacation. I’ve left a dozen messages today.”

The low, husky tone that oozed sensuality now twisted her stomach, as much as it had once made it do cartwheels. Along with his charm and good looks, and—no. She stopped herself short. He was a liar and she was best out of it. She could see the smirk on his face as he spoke. He thought he’d won because she called.

"Mr. Rains. I didn’t resign so you could bug me by text and phone. Any relationship you and I had is over. I shall consider any further communication from you as harassment and treat it accordingly. Goodbye.”

As if a huge weight had been lifted from her, Jonni hung up and deleted his name and number. Something she should have done days ago. She took a deep breath, the warm yeasty smell of baking…the bread.

Jumping up, she hurried to the kitchen, not wanting it to burn. She grabbed the oven gloves and took the baking tray out. She tapped the loaf, smiling at the hollow sound, before placing it onto a cooling rack.

Now all she had to do was run into the village for some cheese and butter, and tea was done. Maybe the walk would encourage her non-existent appetite to return.

Heading upstairs past the huge Christmas tree that dominated the hall, Jonni ran her fingers along the exquisitely carved oak banisters. She pushed open her bedroom door and crossed the room, clicking in exasperation as she tripped over the loose floorboard.

One of these days someone was going to fall over properly and hurt themselves. Knowing her luck, it’d be her. Something else to leave in the note for Gabriel. She pulled on her coat and headed back downstairs.

She’d hoped for snow for Christmas, but frost was fine. No matter what the weather, it always showcased God’s creation to the full. She wrapped a scarf around her neck and pulled a hat over her ears.

Humming Silent Night, Jonni stepped into the bitter cold and shut the front door, catching a last glimpse of the high-ceilinged hallway, magnificent wooden staircase, and checkered floor. She ran down the stone steps and turned to look at Southby—the ancestral home of the Earl of Elton. It was breathtaking. The sloping roof, long wings around the central courtyard and huge shuttered windows—even in five days, she’d not explored a fraction of it, yet.

Jonni walked along the half mile driveway to the main road. She’d give her right arm to see this house in its heyday. It must have been amazing with its servants, and lord and lady in their fantastic clothes, holding parties and living in a way she couldn’t even imagine. Especially at Christmas, singing carols around the piano and the tree alight with candles in the background.

She paused as she reached the oaks standing tall and proud by the entrance to the estate. The bark was rough and gnarly under her hands as she touched it. If this tree could talk, what stories it could tell. Jonni ran her fingers over the carved symbol on the tree trunk. The wood felt old under her fingers, yet love emanated from the carving. A heart encircling two sets of initials, ST and JP. She wondered who they were and whether JP, whose initials matched her own, had done the engraving, or stood and watched while ST did them.

She headed left onto the main road, praying as she walked.

Show me what You want me to do, Lord. Right now, things are confused and I hurt. Why did Bryan treat me like that? Is it because I didn’t give him what he wanted? Or is it my fault for dating my boss? Lord, above everything else, I am Yours, and I know You have a reason for this. I trust in what it says in Romans eight, twenty-eight. Right now, I can’t see the good in this, but I know You can. Give me the patience to wait until You make things clear to me.

Reaching the pedestrian crossing, Jonni pressed the button to change the lights. She glanced down at the ancient milestone, standing next to the lamp post. It looked as though it had been there at least two hundred years. What had Headley Cross looked like, then?

The lights changed and the traffic stopped. As the neon-green walking man came on to indicate she could safely cross the road, Jonni rested her hand on the top of the milestone. Bet you could tell a tale or two if you could talk.

Jonni stepped off the pavement and onto the road.

From out of nowhere, came a shout and a rush of hooves. Something hit her hard and she cried out. She raised a hand to her head, stumbling forward for an instant, before an invisible force slammed her to the ground. She tried to shield herself from the four hooves dancing around her. Voices echoed. A pair of boots entered her field of vision before her eyes closed and blackness surrounded her.


Hooked yet??? This story is part of the Pelican Book Group Christmas Holiday Extravaganza, specially-priced through December 2011!

Purchase Time's Arrow RIGHT HERE


Clare Revell's latest release, Time's Arrow, takes readers on a spin through time that's part Christmas romance, part paranormal/divine intervention, and completely enjoyable!

Toppling two hundred years into the past, Jonni Peterson enters the world of Lord Sebastian Tyler. The pair are destined to be together, and not even time can keep them apart once God intercedes. Elements of this story are based on historical fact, but what steals the reader away is the chemistry between Jonni and Sebastian, as well as the sweetness of the relationship that develops between Jonni and Sebastian's daughter, the precocious and winsome Alexis.

The reader has know idea how Ms. Revell will resolve the story until the final pages, and it's a thrill ride. Give yourself a Christmas treat and pick up a copy of Time's Arrow - it'll be the perfect accompaniment to your holidays!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Welcome, Diane Craver & A Christmas Gift

I'm excited to introduce you to a new author friend of mine, Diane Craver! She's got a new release out called A Christmas Gift that sounds just amazing! More on that in just a bit...first, let's get to know Diane better!

Diane, welcome to the blog! I always like to kick things off by asking my author visitors: When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing but when our oldest daughter Sara was a toddler, I started writing non-fiction. I wrote a partial manuscript, Born to Love, about her and how my faith became stronger as a result of having Sara. It was very therapeutic for me to examine my faith and to learn to give thanks to God for our situation of having a child with special needs.

What an amazing testimony. How did your writing career begin? How did you find your way to that ultimate dream of publication?

My writing career began with a true story in a Christian magazine, “Virtue”, and in the same issue, there was an article about Debby Boone. My sweet mother told me that my story was more interesting and better than the famous singer’s one. LOL I continued writing non-fiction and was published in other magazines, one was in Woman’s Weekly so that was exciting. I first published in non-fiction but realized it was more fun and a wonderful escape to write fiction, especially while raising our six children.

An author, Dianne Castell, encouraged me to submit to Samhain Publishing. They accepted 3 manuscripts within a month. It was exciting. I had my first two novels published only a week apart in ebook, then 3 months later they were both in print. The first was NO GREATER LOSS, an inspirational romance and the second release was A FIERY SECRET, a chick-lit mystery.

Love the titles!! What are you working on next?

My great-grandfather was a Mennonite minister so I decided to write an Amish romance series. Many of his beliefs were similar to the Amish faith. I just finished the first book, A JOYFUL BREAK. An agent requested a partial so hopefully, I’ll get a request next for a full.

Good luck!!
Tell us one interesting fact about you that your readers would find interesting, and maybe even surprising.

I was a carhop at a root beer stand for 3 years during high school. By the way, I didn’t carhop wearing roller skates. LOL Our kids assumed I did.

LOL! That's the image I have, too - what fun!! How do you find balance between being a writer and everything else that goes on in your life?

It’s a bit difficult because we were blessed with six children. Although they are all now adults, two were born with special needs and live at home with us. Also another daughter graduated from college a year ago and has moved back home so she can pay off loans and etc. I have a part-time job as a reader scoring the tests students hate to take. I usually write in the morning when I’m not driving to work after I get our two daughters off to their special programs. I don’t do well in the afternoons to write so might do proofreading then and write again in the evening.

What a great introduction! I'm so glad to get to know you better, Dian. Now, let's find out more about A Christmas Gift! Here's a sneak peek - and leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway! A print edition of A Christmas Gift will be awarded if the winner lives in the US; a download will be awarded if the winner lives outside the US!


Justin Reeves is a man who has it all: a good job, a loving wife and children who are the center of his universe. Justin also has a secret he's hidden from everyone his entire life;or so he thought. Quite innocently his small daughter, Debby, stumbles upon his secret and is shocked by what she finds. She confronts her father with the awful truth, and together they embark upon a journey which takes her father from the darkness of shame into the light of victory.

Drawing from true events in her own childhood, author Diane Craver captivates the reader from page one to a stunning climax which will touch your heart and impact your life forever in this must-read story of love's triumph over adversity.



It was 1957 when I saw something that I wasn’t meant to see. I have never forgotten this night because it had such an impact on me. I was only seven years old, and what I saw my father doing confused me. Finally, I had enough courage to ask my mother about it. After she explained everything to me, I was shocked and saddened.

What happened after I learned my father’s greatest secret was extraordinary to our family. When my father, Justin L. Reeves, decided to conquer an overwhelming disability in life, he was fifty-four years old. He gave our family an incredible gift to last a lifetime because of what he accomplished at this age.

His triumph made me into the woman I am today. My three older siblings were able to make the best decisions of their adult lives because of our father's influence.

This is a story of determination and hope. My father's journey was not easy. But if it had been easy, I wouldn't be telling his story now.

After you finish reading this book, I pray that the true meaning will linger in your heart and mind; just as the outcome of my long ago memory has remained in my soul for fifty-three years.

My name is Debra Reeves Cunningham, and I am sixty years old. It’s not hard to take you back to the beginning in 1957 when I was seven. My life was good and simple. My memories of this wonderful year are crystal clear. We lived on a farm with eighty acres outside of Findlay, Ohio. My petite mother, Lucille, worked hard doing whatever needed to be done on the farm. She was a big help to my dad when it came to dairy chores. With no milking machines, they milked seven cows by hand in the morning and again in the evening.

My siblings didn't help with this time-consuming job. My oldest sister, Gail, was twenty-five and lived at home, but not by her choice. Whenever she mentioned moving to an apartment, our mother insisted that wouldn’t be proper for a single woman. Gail worked as a secretary at the impressive Ohio Oil Company in Findlay. She always dressed in pretty clothes and went out on dates all the time.

My brother, Carl, at the age of twenty-one was in the Army, and he hated it. He wrote me the best letters. The past summer, we all traveled in our blue Mercury car to visit him in North Carolina.

Next in the family was my fourteen-year-old sister, Kathy. We shared a bedroom, and she never complained about sharing a room with a younger sister. She only worried about not being able to dance. From the time she was a small child, she wanted to be a dancer. She watched all the Shirley Temple movies and practiced on the kitchen linoleum floor. I was told how her dancing entertained me when I was a fussy baby with teething pain.

A short time after Kathy celebrated her seventh birthday, she was stricken with polio. She wore a brace on her left leg because the polio had weakened these muscles. Dancing was no longer a realistic dream for Kathy.

It's time to take you back to the night when what I saw made me question everything. From my siblings, I learned that sometimes we see only what we want to see, and only face the truth when we can no longer deny it. I remember everything about that night so well. In my mind I see my bare feet softly walking down twenty-two steps. I enjoyed counting the steps and jumping off the last one.

It drove Gail crazy whenever she was in a hurry and behind me. "Why do you have to count these stupid steps all the time?"

"I like to count them. I always get twenty-two."

And so on this particular night I counted them again. With no light on to guide my footsteps, I didn't want to fall in the dark. I didn't switch the hallway light on because it would shine through the register. My parents might wake up and see the light from their bedroom. Mommy liked to keep a door open for air circulation in their small room. I knew that I had to be very quiet since I wasn't supposed to be up at this late hour. I skipped the jump off the last step so my parents wouldn't hear me. With a racing heart, I slowly opened the old stairway door, hoping it wouldn't make a sound.

Amazon link to A Christmas Gift

Thanks for joining me, Diane - and best of success with A Christmas Gift!