Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Heather's story about love and taking risks


Welcome Heather Gray to the blog today. It's her first visit with us and she's eager to share an excerpt from her new novel, An Informal Christmas, with you! :)

Here's the book blurb for An Informal ChristmasRylie Durham is used to dealing with all sorts of people and situations in her role as a Child Life Specialist at a local hospital. Why, then, does Zach York bring out the worst in her? After all, he's there to donate toys to the children she loves. 


Could it be that she sees a kindred spirit in him? Rylie knows a thing or two about hiding a bruised heart from the world...and the danger inherent in blaming God for the hurt.

With December's approach, Rylie enlists Zach's help for a special undertaking -- a Christmas formal for one of the pediatric units. As they work together on the project, she hopes to show him that, even when it's painful, love is worth the risk.

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Story excerpt from Chapter One of An Informal Christmas:

Rylie ran for the elevator. A man in a faded denim jacket stood inside with the back curve of his left shoulder facing her. He didn’t acknowledge her high-speed sprint in his direction. Nor did he stop the two brushed steel panels from sliding closed between them.

She thought of pushing the button and forcing the doors to reopen. Honestly, though, did she want to get stuck in a metal box with a man who didn’t care about basic courtesy toward his fellow mankind? Not likely. Rylie huffed out an exasperated breath as she started up the stairs. Three flights up. It could be worse.

With a shove to the door, she exited the stairwell and stood on a narrow landing with skylights above and a view of the hospital’s lobby below. Ten steps to the left, and she broke through to the hallway-of-no-return. Nobody came up to this floor unless they worked in one of the three departments exiled here. The first door belonged to the chaplaincy. The second led to the main office for the hospital social workers. The third door, decorated with construction paper butterflies and cotton ball caterpillars, was home sweet home — Child Life.

“I can’t believe how rude people have become!” Rylie vented about the man in the elevator as she stepped past the colorful decorations and into her domain. Suzie, the part-time department head who kept their ship running tighter than junior size spandex on a burly linebacker, wasn’t at her desk. Their offices were anything but spacious, though, so she was likely still within hearing distance. After all, what was a good venting without someone to listen?

“I was running for the elevator, but the guy inside didn’t even wait for me. He let the doors slide closed. Because obviously it wasn’t big enough for two of us.” She left out the part about his back being to her. Absolving him of guilt wasn’t high on her priority list at the moment.

Suzie emerged from The Vault, a nether region of their office used for storage. She dusted her hands off and frowned at Rylie. “We have company.” She waved at the man following behind her. “This is Mr. York. He brought several boxes of stuffed animals for our kids.”

No way. Not… Lots of guys wore denim jackets, right? It couldn’t be the same…

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Review of Heather's book as posted on Amazon: Heather Gray packs a wallop in this little slip of a story. It may be a novella, but it reads like a novel and ends with a wonderful, beautiful message or love, grace, and selflessness. This is the first book in an amazing series of stories centered around the pediatric hospital. “God was intimately acquainted with Rylie’s heart. Her pain, too. Nothing was a mystery to Him.” Overworked, overwrought, Rylie gives her all to minister to the hospitalized children, especially the critical cases. Philanthropist Zach York is a mystery. “He’d shown up one day and kept coming back.” This “rescuer of damsels in distress” is an intriguing puzzle that Rylie is tempted to solve. As Rylie and Zack join forces to create a magical celebration, they find a magic of their own.

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Enter the book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of An Informal Christmas. You can enter the contest by filling out the form on this Rafflecopter widget:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Author bio: 

Heather Gray loves coffee, God, her family, and laughter - not necessarily in that order! 

She writes approachable characters who, through the highs and lows of life, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her. Her books almost always include someone who's infatuated with coffee, too. Some things just can't be helped. 

Heather delights in creating characters who, like her, have their share of faults and foibles, characters who are flawed...but loved anyway.

22 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today Alexis!! :)

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    1. You're welcome, Heather! Thanks for being my guest. Merry Christmas! :)

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  2. Of course it is worth the risk. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

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    1. I agree with you, Lucy! :) Merry Christmas to you too.

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    2. You're so right Lucy!! Merry Christmas to you as well! :)

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  3. I think it is worth the risk,. I would love to read and post reviews on a few sites. Thank you and Merry Christmas

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    1. Dear PT Clayton,
      Good luck in the book giveaway contest! :)
      Thanks for visiting my blog. God bless you and Merry Christmas!

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    2. I'm so glad you could stop by today! Good luck in the giveaway!

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  4. Love is always worth the risk! Sometimes it shows up at inconvenient times or when you are not prepared for it, but in the end, you understand why it all happened the way it did!

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    1. Awe, you are so right, Teri! Thanks for visiting my blog. Merry Christmas and God bless you! :)

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    2. Ha! Such a good point! Love - whether it's the romantic kind, the familial kind, or the friendship kind - rarely seems to arrive "on time." And it often asks things of us when it's inconvenient. But that's all part of love, right? Putting others ahead of ourselves...and our schedules. (I'm reminding myself of this as I type!) :)

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  5. Seem like love is in the air!!

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    1. Maybe! :) Thanks for visiting my blog, Molly. Merry Christmas and God bless you!

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    2. That's one of the fun things about writing romance - love is always in the air! Thank you for stopping by!!

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  6. Oh yes, love is worth the risk.
    Blessings Tina

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    1. So glad you could stop by today Tina! :)

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  7. I love coffee too. Yes, love is most definitely worth the risk.

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    1. Happy sigh. Coffee lovers of the world unite!! :)

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  8. Love is worth all the risk. Life would be boring without it.

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    1. Wouldn't it, though? I'd rather take the risk than be bored silly! :)

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  9. Yes, I do.. if you don't take the risk how will you know if you missed out one that special one?

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    1. I agree, and it's not just about that one special person. If we're not willing to risk love, then we miss our on family and friend relationships that could be profoundly meaningful to us. I'm glad you could stop by Deanna! :)

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