Wednesday, September 30, 2015

RELEASE WEEK: Days 3 & 4

Days 3 & 4 of Release Week for All Our Empty Places, Book Two in the A Time of Grace trilogy!

Our stop WEDNESDAY is at:

Seasons of Humility (clickable link).

Our stops THURSDAY are at:

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections (clickable link)

Christian Author A.M. Heath (clickable link)

I personally follow and enjoy each of these blogs - both for their excellent content and also for their kind hosts! I hope that you'll join me in stopping at their "front porches." :-)

And, of course,  you may enter the Cozy Autumn Reading Giveaway on their blogs or HERE, if you wish!

Grace and peace,

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Release Day: All Our Empty Places ~ A Time of Grace, Book 2

Rejoicing in the Lord! :-)

It's Release Day for All Our Empty Places, Book Two in A Time of Grace!

You can now find All Our Empty Places on Amazon in both softcover and Kindle.


Amazon is still playing catch-up with displaying the softcover (though they should have it up very shortly), but if you would really like to order the softcover today, it's available here:

Book One, The Fragrance of Geraniums, now has an updated cover as well, reflecting that it's now part of a trilogy. :-)
Find both the softcover and Kindle HERE.

And we're continuing the Release Tour Week with stops at (all clickable links):

Ready to be Offered - who also has reviewed the novel

Rachel Rossano’s Words

Letters from Annie Douglass Lima

I'd love to have you click on over and read their reviews and/or spotlights on the novel! :-)
You'll also be able to enter the Cozy Autumn Reading Giveaway on each of those sites, as well as by clicking HERE. This giveaway was so much fun to create, and I hope that you enjoy it!

Grace and peace to you,

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hurray! It's Release Week for ALL OUR EMPTY PLACES {& We're Having a Cozy Autumn Reading Giveaway}!

I am so delightedly-delighted :-) to announce that, by God's grace, it's RELEASE WEEK for All Our Empty Places, Book Two in the A Time of Grace trilogy. May the Lord Jesus see fit to make His Name more beloved and honored through this novel.

While the book doesn't officially release until tomorrow, Tuesday, September 29, 2015, we're going to start today, Monday, September 28, kicking off with a special, week-long autumnal giveaway -- and you all know how much I love giveaways! :-)

You'll also want to stop by and visit the other blogs taking part in this release celebration week. Some of them will simply be highlighting the book, others will be offering their honest early-reader reviews, and still others will be interviewing yours truly. :-) Hint: If you stop by at least one each day, you'll be able to pick up more giveaway points by "following" their host! I will be linking to each participating blog each day right here on A Brighter Destiny so that you're able to follow along easily.

Today, I'd love to have you visit Raechel at her review blog, God's Peculiar Treasure Rae: CLICK HERE to go there! (She also has reviewed All Our Empty Places; you can read that by clicking HERE.) At Raechel's blog, you'll find Biblically-sound, reliable reviews of many Christian fiction books, as well as Raechel's own challenging musings.

And now - drum-roll, please - for our GIVEAWAY! :-)

Looking at that picture makes me want to curl up with a good book, a crackling fireplace, a lap-rug (or, in my case, a lap-pug), some yummy snacks, and a mug of pumpkin spice white hot chocolate.

And that's what the winner of this giveaway will receive! :-) Minus the lap-pug and the fireplace, of course.

To sum it up, the winner will receive: A signed softcover of All Our Empty Places, a beautiful floral mug with 2 Corinthians 12:9 inscribed on it, Nonni's Caramel Apple Biscotti, and a canister of Harvest Spice Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate!

Enter below and feel free to share! :-)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Intended Audience for All Our Empty Places / A Time of Grace Trilogy

Just popping in here to answer a couple of questions that have come my way, pre-release!

Who is the intended audience for All Our Empty Places?

All Our Empty Places (actually, the whole trilogy) is intended to be women's fiction. Now, having 
said that, I know that there are men who do read the A Time of Grace books (and I'm glad for it!). The themes in the books are often universal for Christians, regardless of gender. But, when reading, remember that they are written with women and women's issues in mind.

What age is "old enough" to read the All Our Empty Places?

This question usually comes from mamas who want to know if the trilogy is good for their young daughter to read. My short answer is: This is realistic, Christ-centered fiction intended for women who want to see how the grace of God can transform lives, from the inside-out. The trilogy deals - in a Gospel-driven, redemptive manner - with very real-life issues in 1930s New England. In particular, All Our Empty Places portrays both a serious courting relationship (through the characters of Grace and Paulie) as well as a sometimes-troubled marriage relationship (through the characters of Sarah and Sam). Other issues include: unbelieving family members, poverty, and dealing with memories of past abuse/neglect.

So, I would say that the novel, while intended for adult women, may also be read beneficially by older teens. Any age younger than that is up to your own discretion -- You know your own children; different people are ready for things at different times. :-) 

If you have any other questions or would to hear a little more about the two I addressed above, please feel free to e-mail me at aliciagraceroque (at) gmail (dot) com -- or by using the contact form at the right side of this blog. :-)

Have a wonderful Sunday of worship! I'll "see" you on Monday.

Grace and peace,

Friday, September 25, 2015

Of Emptiness... And of Being Filled ~ Thoughts on All Our Empty Places

"If only God would give me different circumstances." No one understands your circumstances but God, and He has given you the fighting chance to prove you can be more than conqueror in all these things. Let God lift you out of the broken place, out of the bedraggled place.
~ Oswald Chambers

We all have broken places, don't we?

Scars from hurts given to us.

Scars from hurts we've given to others.

Memories that haunt us, reminding us who has failed us... and how we've failed, too, all on our own.

The chinks in our armor that mock us in the mirror, telling us, day-after-day-after-day: "You don't measure up."

And sometimes, when we become Christians, we figure that those scars will disappear, that the "old injury" won't bother us, that our armor will become whole and strong, so that we can fight our way through life with ease and jollity. 

But they don't disappear, do they?

Actually, they seem to widen, stick out even more, reinterating that even as Christians, we still have broken places. Emptiness. Holes of darkness that it seems no light will pierce.

It's enough to make us despair, isn't it?

It's enough to make me despair - that's for sure.

And then, one day, years ago now, shedding tears over my Bible - admitting to God that I was utterly incapable of living this life He'd given as it ought to be lived - He spoke to me.

And the verse that I read was this:

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I can't adequately express what that meant to me, other than this:
Christ's grace was sufficient for me - He would be my Sufficiency - He would pour His ability into me - because - His strength would be perfected - made complete - in my weakness - in my inability - in my incapability.

I realized - and what a humbling realization! - with the sureness of it being seared into my heart that my emptiness was good - my inability was good - my brokenness was good...

His strength can only be shown in weak people, people who know that they are weak, people who need His strength.

His grace could repair all the broken places, could fill me utterly because I was empty of myself - of my own abilities, of my own "wholeness."

When we're whole, shiny, and brimming with everything good, we don't think we need Him. We still do, of course, but we don't think so. We're so easily self-satisfied.

He wants broken hearts, broken lives, empty people whom He can fill with Himself.

And that is the theme of All Our Empty Places, releasing 9/29/15 (click here to preorder the Kindle edition).

I hope that you enjoy it, friends. May God use reading it to minister to your heart as writing it did mine.

Grace and peace,

Friday, September 18, 2015

I'm Going a Visitin' :-)

Just popping in to let you all know that I'm over at Iola's Christian Reads today -- a fantastic review blog -- revealing 15 authors who have been most influential on my life and writing.  Come join us:

Amanda Tero's "Peace, Be Still" - Review & Release with a Giveaway!

A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail that brought a huge smile to my face. It was from my writing friend and fellow author Amanda Tero -- She planned on publishing a new short story and needed early readers. :-) Did I want to be one?

Oh, yes! :-)

"Peace, Be Still" tells the story of a twelve-year old boy who must tend the lighthouse in his father's absence - and in the midst of a great storm.

My thoughts: This sweet yet compelling tale will appeal to both younger and older readers - perfect for a family read-aloud. Told from the perspective of the pre-teen, it gently teaches personal responsibility and endurance while encouraging deeper trust in the Heavenly Father. This is perhaps one of my favorites of Amanda Tero's stories and well-worth reading, whether you're two or ninety-two.

About the Author: Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate whose desire is to provide God-honoring reading material that challenges the readers to consider their walk with God. She has currently published several short stories which can be found on Amazon on her website.

Author Links:

Amanda is hosting a giveaway in celebration of this story's release! :-) Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 11, 2015

September: First Friday (A Week Late!)

Yes, I know! :-)
It's not a "first Friday"! I'm a week late - but better late than never? ;-)

What am I looking forward to? What am I doing now?

Scents: The smell of burning leaves in barrels; the aroma of my mom's apple pie baking in the oven; the new crispness of the air as it enters my lungs.
Sounds: The crackle of fallen leaves under my feet; the honking of Canada geese as they gather to fly to warmer climes; the crickets harmonizing through the evening hours.
Sights: The glorious, watercolor sunsets of autumn; the first time I see my breath clouding in the morning air; the cold-weather coats coming in on the house rabbits.

Bible: I'm reading the Book of Hosea and seeing in it so much of our Heavenly Father's love for us, each, individually.
Fiction: Correlating with that, I'm reading Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love, based on Hosea. There is a story to why I'm reading them together - a complete God-incidence. :-)
Nonfiction: Amy Carmichael's Gold by Moonlight. One of my favorite missionaries of the near-past.
Writing: I'm - oh, this is so exciting to my soul! - working on the plot for A Time of Grace, Book 3. :-D
Releasing: This month, All Our Empty Places releases in softcover and on Kindle on Tuesday, September 29, 2015! There will be a grand giveaway and fun posts associated with that, so stay tuned, friends! :-)
Other: I'm starting a "Street Team" over on Facebook - basically, a group of folks who love my novels and want to get the word out about them to others! :-) If you'd like to join, send me a message at aliciagraceroque (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll get you signed up. :-)

May the Lord bless you and keep you in His love.

Grace and peace,

Monday, September 7, 2015

Heads-Up: Special Treat Ahead! :-)

Just popping in here today to let you blog readers and friends know that I'm preparing a special treat for my e-newsletter subscribers this week! :-) Heads-up: Subscribing to my blog by e-mail is one thing -- My author e-newsletter is different. :-)

YES -- The treat has something to do with All Our Empty Places. :-)

If you'd like to make sure that you receive that secret special treat this week, you can sign up for my e-newsletter here:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway for Jason McIntire's New Release FLIGHT SCHOOL

Well, I promised that we'd be having a busy - and fun! - week here at A Brighter Destiny. Thus it continues with this review and giveaway (How I love those!) for Jason McIntire's FLIGHT SCHOOL, the stand-alone sequel to THE SPARROW FOUND A HOUSE.


First of all, what's Flight School about? :-)
For those of you who have read The Sparrow Found a House, you'll welcome back the Rivera-Sparrow family. For those of you who haven't read the previous book in this series, you'll love meeting each member of this household, from parrot-raising youngster Moe right on up to the highly-disciplined but loving Sergeant.

This story (which could certainly be read as a stand-alone) continues to detail the personal, educational, and especially spiritual growth of the Rivera-Sparrow children as well as their close friend, concentrating on the three eldest: Ben, Chris, and Jessie. In one spring and summer, these three face difficult decisions and must learn how their faith in Jesus Christ applies to real life situations -- career choices, romantic relationships, and friendships.

What Did I Think?
In Flight School, Jason McIntire has created another wholesome, engaging contemporary story that affirms traditional values, all done with the author's trademark gentle humor. The interesting plot - surrounding Christian movie-making as well as law internships - not only entertains but also encourages young people to think more deeply about the consequences of their behaviors and actions.

Because the novel focuses on the upper-teen members of the family, the story is of most interest to ages 13 and up. However, younger children would surely enjoy the majority of the story, especially the parts about the family as a whole. Indeed, this is a wonderful read-aloud story for the whole family - The story - the characters and their choices, their motives and their thoughts - provide a truly excellent jumping-off point for family discussions.

Overall, highly recommended. I'm planning on giving this book as a Christmas gift to a younger cousin.

What I Loved:
There was a lot! :-) I'll stick with three points.

1. The discussion that Jessie has with "Sarge" (her stepdad) near the end of the book. The focus on Christ was so excellently interwoven here, pulling all the mini-storylines of the novel together. Quoting:

"'Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.' Not 'keep the rules' like John or 'make it up as you go along' like Galen. Walk in the Spirit," [Sarge explained.]
"That seems hard to define," Jessie doubted.
"It is hard to define," Sarge agreed. "That's one of the reasons you and I can't do it on our own, by 'trying our best.' It requires constant dependence on the only One whose life can empower us to live for Him. And people do fear that, Jessie. The law seems safe and predictable by comparison to the Spirit, and they gravitate toward it.... Or else.... they proclaim 'liberty' and proceed to do what they like without regard to God and His Word. Either way, the Spirit is shut out and they're defeated before they start.... Each person no matter what their heritage or denominational background, can know and follow God by faith. He doesn't deal with institutions, but with individual hearts. And if someone is open to Him, He'll send them more light."

2. How the spiritual growth of the characters was so integral to the novel, yet never preachy! McIntire handled this deftly. Having worked with them, I believe that teenagers are starving for spiritual guidance that is relevant (in the best sense of that word) to their actual, contemporary decisions. In particular, Jessie provides an excellent role model for upper-teen girls.

3. The way that the family reached out to those around them with the love of Christ. This is a central aspect of the novel, and the Rivera-Sparrow parents demonstrate this the most, with their children learning from them. In line with this, the redemption theme for many of the minor character is excellent - hinting, in some cases, that there may be a third book! :-)

Parents of young children might want to know:
As I mentioned above, Flight School focuses on the teenagers in the Rivera-Sparrow family. That means that mentions of romantic attractions (though these mentions are mild by my conservative standard), particularly in the case of aspiring lawyer Ben and Chloe. What I loved about the handling of these romantic attractions was the way that McIntire brought the focus back to how Ben/Chloe's walk with Christ should direct their paths. Well-done.

Flight School is published by Elisha Press. You may purchase e-book OR print copies directly from their website or on Amazon / other online booksellers. Click HERE to go to Elisha Press' website.

{Giveaway is administered by Elisha Press.}

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Guest Cover Reveal: Lauren Lotter's BE STILL, MY SOUL

This looks like it will be a busy week at A Brighter Destiny! We have a guest cover reveal today, a guest book review/blog tour on Thursday, and, of course, First Friday. :-)

Today, I'm so pleased to help author Lauren K. Lotter reveal the cover and blurb of her upcoming release Be Still, My Soul. While I haven't read the book yet, Lauren has proven herself a fine writer with the release of previous titles for younger readers, such as her book Rustlers and the Texas Trail. She branches into new territory with this release.

The Cover:

About the Book:
Adah's world is turned upside down by the sudden death of her fiancée. After years of declaring that she will always be single, David broke down her walls and she fell hopelessly in love.
But just three weeks before their wedding, he is killed in a car accident. A happily-ever-after ending becomes a distant dream. Adah is lost without him and she tries to drown her grief in a crazy social life, but finds no peace.

In desperation, she heads off into the mountains, searching for a cure for  her broken heart. Her lack of wilderness experience gets her into many predicaments as she attempts to live life as the pioneers did. No running water, no electricity, a rock slide, an uncooperative wood stove and an unexpected late spring blizzard nearly overwhelm her. As if that wasn't adventure enough, a nearly frozen man appears on her doorstep in the middle of the raging blizzard. Adah is shocked to discover a young child cradled in his arms.
While the little girl, Sarah, seems unharmed, Adah works desperately to save the man's life. With limited medical knowledge, she does the best she can, but a high fever and other injuries threaten his life. The man, whose name is Ethan, regains consciousness and seems to be recovering just as the storm abates. But flooding, mud slides and avalanches force the trio to remain in the cabin for the unforeseeable future.
Adah is disturbed by Ethan's talk of God. Raised to be an Atheist, any talk of religion bothers her. But the more Ethan speaks of his God, the more curious Adah becomes. Something about the relationship Ethan has with his God calls to her. It is more than just a religion. Could God be the answer? Can He heal her broken heart?
Join Adah in her search for the truth. Will she finally find the love she has been searching for all her life?

For more information about the novel and its author, visit: