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Comfort & Joy

Comfort & Joy - The 2018 Christmas Lights Collection, with Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, April Hayman, Cathe Swanson and Chautona HavigThis week, I’m finishing up my Christmas novella, The Christmas Glory Quilt. It will be my contribution to the 2018 Christmas Lights novella collection: Comfort & Joy.  This year’s collection is going to be bigger and better than ever before,  with contemporary Christian Christmas stories from Alana Terry, April Hayman, Toni Shiloh, Chautona Havig and me.  Isn’t it a beautiful cover?

Frost Heaves by Alana Terry
The Trouble with Christmas Cheer by April Hayman
Deck the Shelves by Toni Shiloh
The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson
The Ghosts of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig

Comfort & Joy will be available exclusively on Amazon on October 15th. We’re looking for a few more launch team members, to help share the news. If you are interested in getting a free advance reader copy of the book and participating in our very fun Facebook group, please click HERE for more information and fill out the form.

 

The Christmas Glory Quilt

The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson - in the 2018 Christmas Lights Collection, Comfort & JoyThe Christmas Glory Quilt will be the first in a series with a seasonal quilt theme – Autumn Glory Quilt, Easter Glory Quilt, etc. (I still need to work on those titles!) Being an overachiever, I designed a quilt to go with the book and plan to offer the pattern as a bonus for early purchasers of the book.  It was a busy summer – and I had to write the book! – so it took a long time just to get it pieced.

Yesterday morning, my good friend and book cover designer, the multi-talented Chautona Havig, said, “I need pictures of the quilt, draped around two people. Now.” So I dropped everything and quilted. For nine hours, I sat at the dining room table and quilted. I finished about six o’clock and my husband helped me take pictures. Triumphantly, I sent them to Chautona.

But they weren’t good enough. An iPhone 5S may take good pictures for posting online, even indoors, but they aren’t good enough to use on the front of a printed book. I thought, “All that work, for nothing. I wasted the whole day, when I should have been working on the book, cleaning house, making dinner, taking a shower…”

Have you even done something difficult and then it fell short? Wasn’t good enough? Did it crush you? Make you feel like a failure? In my head, I know that now I have a finished quilt. I need to figure out how to get a better picture. It will be challenging, but I will make it work out. In my heart, I am disappointed. Deflated. Frustrated. I have to do the pictures all over again and I’m further behind on my book.

Redeeming the Time

But there was a grain of something good in the experience, and it wasn’t the quilt or the pictures. For about half an hour, my husband and I had a wonderful time together.

What we needed was a “green screen” picture of the quilt wrapped around two people. Chautona was going to cut out the quilt part of the picture and superimpose it on the purchased picture of these two attractive models. Kind of like paper dolls, if you remember those.

 

 

 

 

 

So the quilt had to be draped just right, to fit the existing picture. My husband hung a black sheet on the wall, and we set the laptop, open to the picture of the models, on a chair in front of us. To get the right angle, we put the phone/camera on top of a stepladder on top of the piano bench. We practiced standing in the right position first, and then we worked on arranging the quilt.

The thing is, those models are wrapped in a soft, stretchy knit blanket. A brand new quilt is stiff. It doesn’t drape. But we tried. We wrapped up in it, as best we could, then we scooted forward to push the camera button and scooted back, trying to get into position before the ten-second timer went off. It was hilarious. We laughed together, harder than we have in years. We have more ‘blooper’ shots than usable pictures. In most of them, we were rolled up like a burrito or shaped like a Christmas tree. Sometimes, the camera snapped the picture before we were ready.

 

And we laughed and laughed. My husband said, “We know how to do Friday night!” It was a good time, and it will be a sweet memory. Marriage is hard, and sometimes the fun is just drained away. Sometimes we – like many married couples – go along from day to day, doing what has to be done. So I spent a day making that quilt, and even though my original purpose wasn’t achieved, the time was redeemed. God knew we needed that “date night” more quilt pictures. Isn’t He wonderful?

Comfort & Joy

I look forward to sharing more about The Christmas Glory Quilt soon. I’m having so much fun writing it!  All of the books in this year’s collection, Comfort & Joy, are enjoyable, so watch for updates on the Comfort & Joy Facebook page. 
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Read Snow Angels – just in time for the sequel!

Snow Angels is on sale this week, just in time to read it before you get the sequel in Making Spirits Bright ~ the 2017 Christmas Lights Novella Collection. The collection will be available on Amazon on Wednesday, November 1st.!

On Monday and Tuesday, Snow Angels is only 99 cents for Kindle on Amazon! 

Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson

 

Snow Angels on sale this week! 

 

Hope for the Holidays by Cathe Swanson ~ Making Spirits BrightMy new Christmas novella, Hope for the Holidays, is a sequel to last year’s book, Snow Angels. It isn’t necessary to read Snow Angels first, but I think you’d enjoy it. So on Monday and Tuesday, you can pick up the kindle version of Snow Angels for just 99 cents. On Wednesday, with the release of Making Spirits Bright, the price goes up to $1.99, and then on Thursday, the sale is over and Snow Angels returns to its regular price.

 

 

Newly arrived from her home in the Congo and armed with a brand-new degree in nonprofit management, Carrie Strough is eager to organize and improve the Unity Plenkiss Community Center. Unfortunately, no one wants to be organized, and only Micah Neresen, the charming and handsome pastor of the local church, is interested in her plans. Or is he just interested in her?

With a cast of lively and eccentric characters including a homeless vet with PTSD, a con man, an elderly couple with an over-the-top Christmas display, a feisty committeewoman with a past of her own, and a police investigation, Micah and Carrie wonder if there is any hope for the holidays this year!

 

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Snow Angels and Christmas Stalkings Christmas Stocking MASH-UP

Last month, I was blessed with a visit from one of my favorite people – Chautona Havig! We have been friends for a long time, and this year, we were part of the Christmas Lights team of authors. We had a terrific time together and came up with lots of good ideas for the future. One of the fun things we did was make a Christmas stocking to give away – a Snow Angels and Christmas Stalkings Mash-up stocking!

Here’s the story from Chautona’s point of view. Opinions expressed may not reflect those of the management…

It began innocently enough–just two friends shopping in Michael’s. We did the usual… you know, finding cool things, spending WAY too much money, laughing! Talking! But… but then this happened:

Christmas Stocking giveaway

And today’s the day!

Yep! It’s time! After terrorizing Michael’s with our incessant videos, we bought the stocking and filled that sucker! I’m a sucker for stockings, so that really does fit. Just sayin’.

What’s in this knitted sock of surprises? Well, if I tell you, it won’t be a surprise! Oh, all right. Here goes! First a couple of pictures….

Christmas Stocking GIveaway

Trip the Light Fantastic

  • A bag of “Life Is Too Short for Bad Coffee” brand coffee!
  • Beeswax lip balm
  • Beeswax lotion (from scandalous “naked bees”).
  • A “complete collection” of Miss Marple books… in miniature. And readable!
  • A set of hand-crafted book-inspired notecards
  • A set of mini notebooks because I love those little things!
  • A notepad for taking notes while reading so you can bless the author with a thoughtful review! (Or do it THIS way and save time and trees!)
  • An absolutely stunning, handmade, beaded bookmark. Seriously. GORGEOUS.
  • Various author “swag”
  • Chocolate (not shown. I ate it and have to replace it. Just kidding. Didn’t buy it yet).
  • Fuzzy socks (to keep your toes warm while you read!)
  • Tea bags (spicy goodness!)
  • Trip the Light Fantastic paperback
  • Snow Angels paperback
  • Christmas Stalkings paperback

A perfect gift for you or any book-loving friend. International entries are welcome, but the stocking will only be shipped to a US or APO address. Sorry. This thing’s heavy!

Of course, the only way to truly appreciate how this Christmas stocking is a “mash-up” of Snow Angels and Christmas Stalkings is to read both books in the Christmas Lights Collection. Of course, we recommend you read ALL the books in the collection. April’s madcap mystery, Vikki’s heartwarming tale of second-chances and the Lord’s provision. But… guess what?

There’s More Stocking Goodness…

Sorta. You see… we have NEWS!!!

New Year's RevolutionsChristmas Stalkings has a prequel/sequel coming out. That’s right, there’s more of Wendy, Neal, Wanda, Peter, and gang! The book is available for pre-order now and will release on 12.31.16. That’s right. New Year’s Revolutions, the “rest of the story” releases on New Year’s Eve! I’ve even got a COOL BONUS for it! Prepare to revolutionize your life in 2017–and watch my progress as I fumble and bumble to do the same! WOOT!

and…

Snow AngelsBaggage Claim, the delightful story that it is, isn’t the only book Cathe has written. She’s coming out with the second book in the Great Lakes Series: Baggage Claim. It’s available for pre-order now! and releases on 2.14.16. Valentine’s Day. It’s like we’ve got this holiday theme going or something!

Ben’s on a race against time and with the last people he ever thought he’d want helping him. His kids are in hiding, and his own life may be in danger. Find out what’s going on at Great Lakes Therapy in Baggage Claim!

and…

Spilled Ink Hidden CoverApril Hayman has the next in her Heirlooms of Deception series coming out in Winter of 2017. That’s right! There’s more to Trip the Light Fantastic! See Landry in his natural environment… and meet Ree! His niece and his arch enemy–his sister!

Stay tuned on April’s site and social media for her upcoming COVER REVEAL! This is just a mock cover to whet your appetite!

 

Here’s an image to share! We’d really appreciate it!

stocking giveaway

(note: links in this post are likely affiliate links which provide a tiny commission for us at no extra cost to you.)
What do you like to put in a Christmas stocking?

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How To Give a Kindle Book as a Gift … Have a Merry Clutter-free Christmas

How to Give a Kindle Book as a Gift - Have a Very Merry Clutter-free Christmas!

Why to give Kindle Books as Christmas Gifts

Everyone knows that books make great gifts, and digital books are especially nice because they are:
  1. Inexpensive – most Kindle books are under $10. Some are much cheaper!
  2. Environmentally friendly – no physical production or transportation “footprint.”
  3. Fast – forgot to shop in advance? Order online and have the gift delivered instantly. You can also schedule the delivery for later, if you are shopping early.
  4. Convenient – shop from home, in the proverbial pajamas.
  5. Abundant – you can find almost any title on Amazon.
  6. Easy to send – you only need the recipient’s email address.
  7. Free to deliver – you don’t have to pay postage or stand in line at the post office.
  8. Clutter-free – many of us have plenty of “stuff” and limited bookshelf space.
  9. Personal – we share books that we think other people will like.
  10. Easy to read – you can read Kindle books on a tablet, phone or computer. Or even on a Kindle.
  11. Returnable – if your recipient already has the book or is not interested, they can exchange it for an amazon gift card of the same value.

How to Give a Kindle Book as a Christmas Gift

Amazon has two options for gifting kindle books: they will send a personalized email and code directly to the recipient, or they will send it to you so you can print it out and deliver it yourself.

 

First, find the book you want to send. This is a good one!

How to give a kindle book as a gift

Click on the “Give as a gift” button:

How to give a kindle book as a gift

To send the gift directly to your recipient:

Your recipient’s email address does not have to be the one associated with their amazon kindle account. You can personalize the gift with a message.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

If you would like to send the gift later, you can select the delivery date from the drop-down menu:

How to send a kindle book as a gift

Be sure to preview your message:

How to give a kindle book as a gift

***As with all of your own kindle purchases you will get the notification that your purchase is complete. Note that it does not say they emailed your gift to the recipient. It says they sent it to you. Don’t worry. If your gift was scheduled for immediate delivery, they sent it. You will get a verification email.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

This is what your recipient’s email will look like:

How to give a kindle book as a gift

When they click on the link, they will be asked to sign into their amazon account. They will be sent to the the Kindle Gift Center window, where they enter (copy and paste) their gift claim code into the box.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

When they click on the “Go get your gift!” button, they get this page:

How to give a kindle book as a gift

After they click “Accept Kindle Gift”, the book will be in their kindle library and they get the usual “thanks” page:

How to give a kindle book as a gift

You will get an email notifying you that the book has been claimed.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

You can also check your Amazon account, under Digital orders, to see if it has been claimed or not.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

To deliver it yourself:

If you want to give a Kindle book as a gift but add a more personal touch, you can have Amazon send the email code to you.

give-as-a-gift-14

You can dress up your email by adding pictures or more text and then forwarding it to your gift recipient, or you can print it out and enclose it in a card for mailing.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

The rest of that process is the same as the first option.

It’s not hard to give  Kindle books as Christmas gifts … it only looks complex because I showed so many screen shots from the perspectives of both the giver and the recipient! The step-by-step instructions make it a very simple and quick process.

By the way…

A person could, of course, look up the price of the book on Amazon, but the price is not shown in the gift card or claim windows. If the recipient does not want the book, they can exchange it for an Amazon gift card of the same value (in which case they would learn the value of the gift).

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Christmas Lights Giveaway ~ Enter to Win this Gorgeous Nativity Scene

I am happy to announce the release of my first published book, Snow Angels, as part of the novella collection, Christmas Lights. It’s exciting for any debut author, but I’ve been especially blessed in the process. Not only did I get to partner with fellow ACFW authors Vikki Kestell, Chautona Havig and April Hayman, but I had a great team of ladies who helped me with pre-reading, proofreading and promoting the book.  Not many authors have that kind of encouragement with their first book. I’m grateful.

In celebration of the book launch, we are having a special giveaway.  This beautiful 3-piece nativity display is handcrafted in Ukraine and will be shipped to the winner directly from the artist.  Each of the pieces is 8″ tall, 20″ long and 5.5″ deep. Use battery-operated votive candles or a string of lights to create a scene of shadows and silhouettes. You can display the pieces separately or use them together on a mantel or on top of a piano or bookcase. It’s absolutely lovely. In addition to this, we are giving away two $5 Amazon gift cards, just in time for Christmas shopping!

Christmas Lights Grand Prize

CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway, and check out the Christmas Lights website for more pictures of the nativity scene and information about the giveaway.

Christmas Lights - a novella collection

Christmas Lights is a collection of four inspirational novellas, each with a different theme and genre. Vikki’s The Heart of Joy is a beautifully-crafted, gentle historical romance from her Prairie Heritage series.  April’s madcap comedy, Trip the Lights Fantastic, features eccentric characters who will delight you. Chautona’s Christmas Stalkings  is surprisingly suspenseful for a book about a woman who decorates Christmas trees for each of her seven cats!

Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson

 

 

 

My contribution to the collection is Snow Angels.  Lisa, Pete and their friends are oh-so-human, living with human issues in a fallen world. It’s sad and it’s funny, and I think it’s a story of God redeeming the years the locusts have eaten. He washes us clean and gives us hope for the future.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

Kind words for Snow Angels:

“I haven’t laughed this hard in a while, nor cried as much. In this funny, poignant novella, Cathe Swanson reminds our jaded world just what the holidays are all about. Looking forward to seeing this author in other works. Highly recommended.”  Andrea S.

This delightful tale is full of surprises and Christmas spirit. I loved how complex the characters were, and how you unfold each story as you weave your way through the book… One of the most wonderful aspects of this book is the humor. If you need a good laugh, and spiritual encouragement this holiday season, “Snow Angels,” is the book for you.”  Kristen S.

It is equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching and deals with some real-life hard stuff while never losing sight of the hope to be found in Jesus. For a debut work, it is stellar! I absolutely can’t wait to read more from this author!”  Tina C.

I haven’t laughed so much in AGES. Cathe Swanson masterfully weaves a rich story of realistic people with genuine faults and problems in such a way that you love them, want to shake them, and cheer when they ‘get it.’  And all the while, she punctuates each scene with humor, grace, and the beauty of what the Lord does in our lives when we don’t push Him back.”  Chautona H.

 

Christmas Lights available on October 15, 2016 – Preorder now!

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Re-light the Candles of Good Cheer

Re-Light the Candles of Cheer - Cathe SwansonI have a little book of George W. Truett’s Christmas sermons from 1928-1944… I don’t remember where it came from, but I keep it because I like seasonal books. His style was simple and conversational, light on Scripture but full of truth and kindness.  The imagery of “re-lighting the candles of good cheer” has a poignant appeal. This passage from his 1932 Christmas sermon is as applicable today as it was then:

At this Season for accentuated emphasis upon home reunions, and upon friendships both old and new, let us worthily re-light the candles of good cheer and cooperative helpfulness, for those who are experiencing privations and restrictions which lay a heavy toll upon their homes and hearts. May we so voice our understanding sympathy and good will, as to give them new heart and hope, for all the days and duties ahead. Let us especially voice our best cheer for the little children and the aged; for the orphan and the underprivileged; for the poor and the needy; for the afflicted and the unfortunate; for the lonely and the discouraged; for the derelict and the unfriended. May we be experts in doing good to all, and in giving hurt to none.                           George W. Truett, D.D.

Voice Our Best Cheer

In my new book, Snow Angels, the main character is confronted with all of these people and – in spite of her initial reluctance – Lisa reaches out with both the kindness and helpfulness Dr. Truett encourages in all of us. I like his emphasis on more than just the good deeds – he also wanted us to “relight the candles of good cheer,” to “voice our understanding sympathy and good will,” and especially to “voice our best cheer.” Our object is to “give them new heart and hope.”

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

People are encouraged when we reach out to them with more than just a helping hand. We need to extend our best cheer, understanding sympathy and good will. That was harder for Lisa. She wanted to write a check instead of showing up to help, and then she wanted to “fix” people. Dr. Truett’s sermon reminds us that we are called to more than write checks, hand out food and shovel driveways.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.          Leo Buscaglia

Don’t wait for Christmas! We all have that power.  Smiles and kind words cost us nothing at all and are so easy to give!  Can you relight a candle of good cheer for someone today?

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