Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Author Anita Higman invites readers to kick off the season with a spirited holiday tale

Often times the mere mention of Christmas stirs cherished memories and makes us nostalgic of years gone by and the ones we love. Maybe you even begin to hum your favorite Christmas tune. Author Anita Higman harnesses that sentimentality and affection for the holiday season in her latest release, A Merry Little Christmas.

Higman invites readers to fall in love with this cozy story about two people from different worlds. Franny Martin is an Oklahoma farm girl who’s preparing to spend the holidays alone... again. She has spent all of her adult life keeping the family farm going after her parents’ death, and she struggles to make ends meet. Franny has no money to speak of, but she is clever and spirited. Her love for music drives her dream to sell the farm and move to the city.

Then Charlie Landau shows up one day, all wealth and polish, and offers to buy Franny’s farm. Charlie has been trying to prove himself and meet the expectations of his wealthy father after falling short on one business venture after another. He is determined to make his latest endeavor work —
running a farm—that is, after taking a few lessons from Franny.

Even though Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, they quickly find a common bond. In the back of her mind, Franny fears the bigger life that lies beyond her small world. At the same, Charlie is afraid of letting his father down yet again. Both must face their fear of failure and come to the realization that life on the other side isn’t always as it appears.

Drawing on her own experience of growing up in Oklahoma, Higman brings the Martin farm to vivid life. Yet, that’s not the only part of her childhood that she brings to the story. “Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot,” says Higman. “I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.”

As Sinatra croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon her charming farm, Franny teaches Charlie the curious and sometimes comical ways of country life. In the process, they unearth some discoveries of the heart—that sometimes love comes when you’re least ready for it. Will the holidays bring their most impossible dreams within reach?

Publisher: Summerside Press
Release Date: October 2012
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-60936-688-9
List Price: $14.99

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A Merry Little Christmas is the first release in Summerside’s Songs of the Season™ line. Each year, readers will get into the spirit of Christmas with a seasonal romance. Each giftable hardcover book will bear the title of a popular Christmas song from a nostalgic era combining romance and small-town charm.

For more information on Anita Higman and her books, visit her website.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Exposed: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him

“Mom, would you be upset if you found out Sandusky was innocent?”

Shannon Dietz’s son asked her this question as they were watching the Today show...  They were playing a part of Sandusky’s ‘statement’ that he recorded from prison stating:

“They could take away my life, they could make me out as a monster, they could treat me as a monster, but they can’t take away my heart. In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.”

Dietz, a rape survivor, said, “I realized that my son, as innocent and naive as he is, listened to this man’s words and thought ‘He sounds sincere, like he really didn’t do this and what if he is really innocent?’ and that scares me.  It scares me because I know first-hand how ‘innocent’ the accused can make themselves to be.”

Shannon Deitz is founder and president of Hopeful Hearts Ministry, a non-profit that helps abuse and rape victims.  At the fragile age of seventeen, she was raped and began to distrust a God who would allow such a thing. Again, as a freshman in college, she was raped a second time, and she began to earnestly put as much distance between herself and God as she possibly could.

At the age of 27, having run from God as far as she could go, Shannon found herself at the bottom of a life that was no longer tolerable. Having no place to go but up, she looked to Heaven. Deitz felt a distinct calling to begin teaching the teens at her local church. Not only did this give her an opportunity to share her own struggles as a teen and tell others how God changed her personal tragedy into triumph, but it also allowed her to look beyond the traditions to more deeply explore the intricacies of her Catholic faith.

Her story is told in Exposed: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him (Believers Press) offering encouragement and hope to both teens and adults suffering from physical and emotional abuse. In 2011, she stepped away from her parish ministry to start Hopeful Hearts Ministry and to have more time for speaking engagements and to work on writing projects.

October 8, Sandusky was convicted of his crime and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Eight victims bravely came forward to tell their story that proved his guilt.

Dietz states, “What upsets me about this whole situation, and truthfully that of all of the alleged sex crimes is the lack of remorse, regret or sincere apology from the convicted.  While I hand the ultimate judgment and sentence over to God, I also know that genuine repentance is the key to receiving forgiveness. I have spoken at prisons and witnessed the sincerity of a soul that has stripped themself of pride in order to receive the fullness of God’s love and compassion and work towards reparation.”

Deitz has been a ‘featured columnist’ on CatholicLane.com. She and her husband, Neal, live in Kingwood, Texas, where they are active in their local church and community. The couple has two sons, Ryan and Seth, who provide them with endless joy and reason to continually count their blessings.

Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
List Price: $14.99
Publisher: Hopeful Heart Ministries
Publication Date: May 18, 2012
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985250305
ISBN-13: 978-0985250300
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9

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Hopeful Hearts Ministry