Two good deeds in one: Please, give the gift of reading this holiday season.

Support Our Community of Authors while Shining Your Light in Our World

WHETHER YOU CELEBRATE HANUKKAH or CHRISTMAS—we know you’re looking for gifts for family and friends. This year, please consider a “double gift.” By that we mean: Giving “our books” not only will light up the lives of your loved ones, as they read, but your purchases also will help support our community of writers, whose creative energies flow through these books.

A Cozy Mystery that Celebrates Community

Since her cozy mystery debuted in September, Laura Elizabeth has been experiencing a community of love and creativity with her readers. In a series of public events this fall, readers have welcomed Laura with hospitality gifts, including—at one deliciously creative book event—cookies individually decorated with themes related to the famous island in her novel.

How can a cozy mystery spark such creative affection? As you can read in more depth in this earlier column, millions of Americans enjoy cozies for their focus on ordinary men and women coming together to solve mysteries that threaten the peace and safety of their hometowns. Yes, these are crime novels, but these tales are told in a way that invites readers to meet a circle of memorable friends.

In Laura’s case, that welcoming “hometown” is the real-life, historic Daufuskie Island off the Atlantic coast of South Carolina. In a news story published by Laura’s alma matter, Babson College, readers learned that Laura’s love of Daufuskie involves more than her fondness for a lovely island. As the Babson news story explains: “She would like her readers to fall in love with this island, visit the real Daufuskie and help in the overall effort to keep the island community alive and well.”

But don’t simply take our word for it that her novel is a “great read.” Laura already has 20 reviews on her novel’s Amazon book page that collectively average a glowing 4.2 out of 5 stars.

One reviewer writes: It’s a “great little mystery that keeps you engaged and wanting to know more about such a magical place.”

Another reviewer says: “When I read the opening pages, I was suddenly standing outside of Books & Brew, a new bookshop on the island. And with that—an ocean breeze and a bookshop on a lazy, laid-back island—I was hooked. The inspiration for this fictional island comes from the author’s many visits to Daufuskie Island, off the coast of South Carolina. I’ve heard of it and seen the signs for the ferry on my visits to Hilton Head, but never made it across the water to visit. Now I finally have, thanks to this Book No. 1 in Laura Elizabeth’s new mystery series.”

So, considering ordering Laura Elizabeth’s novel from Amazon in paperback or hardcover, right now.

Lessons in Resiliency that are More Timely than Ever

Click on these delicious cookies made to look like the cover of Howard Brown’s Shining Brightly to visit the book’s Amazon page.

There’s something very “tasty” about our newer books! We say that because Laura Elizabeth is not alone in discovering cookie-shaped representations of her book. Howard Brown also connected with a fan who created book-cover cookies to celebrate his inspiring memoir, Shining BrightlyWe shared that delicious story earlier.

But this book has an even more substantial set of lessons to share—especially as we approach Hanukkah, the festival of lights and religious freedom. Right now, readers around the world are discovering the very timely appeal of Howard’s book as war in the Middle East is driving the level of hate crimes—especially antisemitic crimes—to an all-time high. Howard’s role as a Jewish peacemaker—and as a veteran in grassroots organizing to build healthy interfaith relationships—is a practical model for all of us, whatever our faith may be.

In fact, his book comes with links to download free guides for individual reflection and group discussion on “Interfaith Bridge Building: Why do this work?” and “Mentorship: Why should we become mentors?” Given the level of violence and the rising tide of hate crimes against Jews as well as Arabs and Muslims, community leaders are searching for fresh resources to spark community conversations.

Of course, as our regular readers know: Rediscovering our resilience comes in many forms. Howard also is internationally known as a two-time stage IV cancer survivor so his memoir is a burst of bright light for any friend or family member facing those fears right now.

Once again, don’t simply take our word for it! Since his book was published, Howard has been welcoming what he calls “raving fans” who express their enthusiasm by sending him photographs of themselves holding the book that has inspired them. Here’s an earlier story we published about that.

So, please consider ordering Shining Brightly from Amazon in paperback or hardcover, right now.

Click on this photo of George A. Mason enjoying ‘The Word Made Fresh’ to visit the book’s Walmart page.

A Year of Inspirational Reading

When a Child is born—a ray of hope flickers across the sky.” So begins one of the first chapters in George A. Mason’s inspiring new The Word Made Fresh: Preaching God’s Love for Every Bodyavailable in paperback and hardcover from Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Amazon and other retailers as well.

For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, each “year” begins not in January but with Advent, the season of Christmas—so it is appropriate that one of the Rev. George A. Mason’s most memorable Christmas Eve sermons appears in the opening pages of this collection.

For three decades, Mason’s weekly messages have inspired those who attend Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, as well as George’s followers nationwide. Now, this unique multimedia book collects 80 of George’s most memorable and thought-provoking sermons along with links to videos of many of them. This collection covers timely themes ranging from the welcoming love of God and the basics of the Christian faith to such vital issues as the stewardship of our planet, the importance of interfaith relationships, the need to include the most vulnerable in our community life, and the importance of peacemaking.

Greg Garrett, another best-selling Christian author, writes in his preface, “George Mason is one of the Christian world’s most accomplished preachers and pastors. A writer, teacher, activist, and media figure, during thirty-plus years as senior pastor at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, he modeled a Christian love of and advocacy for the marginalized, the disdained, the set aside, that feels absolutely like the Jesus I know, love, and serve.”

Care to learn more? In June, we published this story about the many friends of George A. Mason who contributed to organizing and publishing this book.

So, please consider ordering The Word Made Fresh: Preaching God’s Love for Every Body in paperback or hardcover, right now.

Welcoming a Saint into our Midst

That’s what it feels like to read the story of the courageous Dr. Gustavo Parajón, whose life story is told in Healing the World.

We often refer to the global reach of our community of authors—and their inspiring books. That’s certainly true of Healing the World. Confirmation of that worldwide impact came earlier this year when we received a salute from the esteemed 160-year-old Church Times in London.

We have known—since co-authors Daniel Buttry and Dámaris Albuquerque approached us about this project—that a major biography of international peacemaker and public-health pioneer Gustavo Parajón would bring much-needed good news in our troubled world.

“This long-awaited biography charts his achievements … and has real value in bringing his life of selfless dedication to public notice,” the Rev. Malcolm Doney wrote in his Church Times review of the book. Downey is well known in the UK as an author and a contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought and Radio 4’s Something Understood. He also has been involved in helping with the Greenbelt Festival, where Parajón spoke. In his review, Doney noted: “Parajón’s enhanced international profile brought visits from celebrities such as the singers Kris Kristoffersen, Bruce Cockburn, and Bono. Former-President Carter came, too. Parajón became a popular speaker at the Greenbelt Festival.”

In a world ravaged by crises, this inspiring biography of Nicaraguan public health pioneer and peacemaker Gustavo Parajón encourages readers to courageously reach out to the world’s neediest people. From his family, Parajón inherited a deep Christian faith that made him a fearless example of how to navigate dangerous conflicts and public health crises. Gustavo described his mission as simply following the example of Jesus, but he did so in a unique, tireless and effective way.

Care to learn more? We published this story about the many friends of Gustavo Parajón who contributed to organizing and publishing this book.

So, finally, please consider ordering Healing the World in paperback or hardcover, right now.

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