A Mysterious Benefactor … A Secret Guardian by Sandra Ardoin

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Dora here. Over the last few years, I have been blessed with many writing friends, but few so dear as Sandra Ardoin. Sandy and I connected initially through ACFW, and when we realized we lived just a few miles from each other, decided to get together. Since then, we’ve scaled the writing mountains and wandered through the valleys of publishing while we share our writing and personal journeys over lattes. Today, I’m beyond thrilled to share that Sandy’s debut novella, The Yuletide Angel, releases on October 15 with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Congratulations, Sandy!! 

About The Yuletide Angel

It’s Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor. 

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others. 

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh’s estranged brother shows up in town … and in Violet’s company. 

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.

Please join me in welcoming my dear friend, Sandy:

I’d like to introduce you to a charming couple—the hero and heroine in my Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel. As I interview them, Hugh Barnes and Violet Madison are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on the sofa in the formal parlor belonging to Violet’s recently-married brother. The air is filled with the sweet scents of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mmmm…. Please don’t be surprised if this interview is a short one.

Hugh, what was your first thought when you discovered the identity of The Yuletide Angel? Violet turns to him. Her head is tilted at a slight angle, as if she’s eager to hear the answer, too.

Frankly, I was stunned to see my shy neighbor, a woman I’ve spent months trying to get to know, trotting across town in the dark while toting small flour sacks. Of course, it piqued my curiosity to learn just what she was up to. When I saw her leave the first sack at the home of someone I knew to be in need, I realized the truth. At first I thought her a beautiful woman. Then reality chilled my pleasure. She was quite the reckless woman, and I feared for her safety.

Violet pulls a handkerchief from the pocket of her dress and balls it in a fist. Hugh reaches for the hand with the handkerchief. His thumb caresses the back of it. Encouragement? A silent apology for calling her reckless?

So you decided to follow her. Why?

Hugh: To protect her, of course.

Violet: She shivers and ducks her chin. I’d rather not discuss the frightening part of the story, Hugh.

Violet, how do you feel about having had a secret guardian?

Amazed. The men in my family have protected me in one way or another my whole life—first my father, then my brother. I suppose it was a good and honorable thing, but a bit smothering. Hugh’s protection was different. He allowed me more freedom.

When did you first realize you were meant to be together? They turn adoring eyes on one another. Really, friends, the look is as sweet as the icing topping one of Violet’s desserts.

Violet: I fell in love with him soon after I met him, but never believed he would look at a plain woman like me a second time.

Hugh: She was wrong. I looked and kept looking. And she’s not plain. She’s my beautiful Violet. He kisses her cheek. Once I realized the goodness of her heart, I knew she was to be mine.

So what’s next for the two of you?

Violet: A spring wedding, then—

Hugh: We’ll sail off on the adventure of our lives.

They look at each other and laugh. Must be an inside joke. I drop my pen and notepad on the nearest table.

Well, no one is leaving before I sample a large slice of Violet’s apple cake!

Sandra Ardoin

Sandra Ardoin is a multi-published author of short fiction. A fan of old westerns growing up, it’s only natural that she sets stories in the days of the horse and buggy. Her Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel is available on Amazon.com.

She’s the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina. Learn more about her at www.sandraardoin.com and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Click the link and sign up for Sandy’s newsletter to receive Violet’s Apple Cake recipe, along with news and other tidbits. Enter The Yuletide Angel Facebook Launch giveaway. http://tinyurl.com/kyk2cdm

Pelican Book Group announces the return of Easter Lilies

————Permission to forward————

Pelican Book Group announces the return of Easter Lilies. While Easter Lilies was originally run as a short story contest, the resurrected Easter Lilies will not be a contest, but conducted as an annual special release much like our Christmas Holiday Extravaganza. Each year, one Easter Lilies story will be released on each day of the Easter Triduum. (Yes, only three stories per year.) 
2013 Defining Scripture for Easter Lilies is: Solomon 2:2 “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.”
Submission Guidelines:
Easter Lilies are historical or contemporary romances. In addition to adhering to the guidelines for the White Rose imprint, the following is also necessary: 

  • The defining Scripture for the year must be used as a basis for the story. (This scripture will change each year on October 1st) 

  • Stories should be between 15,000 and 25,000 words. 

  • Both the hero’s and heroine’s points of view may be incorporated, however, we’d like these stories to be “hero-driven”, so ideally, stories should focus on the hero’s love developing for his heroine. These stories may be historical or contemporary, but they must be set around the Easter holiday. 

  • Heroes and Heroines should be between the ages of 25 and 35. 

  • In addition to using the current year Easter Lilies scripture as the reference, some symbol of the Easter Lily must also be incorporated. Easter lilies have long been a symbol of purity, motherhood, the trumpet herald of the Angel Gabriel as he visited the Virgin Mary, of resurrection, and more. (Feel free to research and use different symbols. These are listed as example only). How you incorporate any of the symbols is up to you. Whether it’s an actual flower that the hero gives to the heroine (or vice-versa), or a piece of jewelry, or a spiritual experience. The use is up to you. Perhaps your hero is a Christian musician who plays the trumpet. Perhaps your heroine has lily earrings that have been passed through her family. Perhaps your hero had a “resurrection” of his faith through some experience past or present, or maybe your heroine is a mother. How you incorporate the Easter lily symbolism is up to you. It can be subtle or overt, but it has to be there.

Submissions for Easter Lilies are accepted August 1st through September 30th each year. Submissions for Easter Lilies that are received outside this time frame will be discarded without response.

These guidelines and submission information can be found at: http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/submission-guidelines/easter-lilies-submission-guidelines