Christmas Hope by Leslie Lynch

I am delighted to be a guest on Cindy’s blog today! It’s an honor to spend time with such a talented writer. Thank you for inviting me, Cindy!

CHRISTMAS_HOPE_-_Front_Cover_(for_Amazon)_2My most recent release is hot off the presses! Christmas Hope is an uplifting holiday novella available on Amazon as an ebook for 99¢. It will also be included in an anthology called Romancing Christmas that is scheduled for release on November 3 and will be available for pre-order on October 24. It’s a real pleasure to be included with nine authors and a range of exciting Christmas stories!

Christmas Hope is Book 4 of the Appalachian Foothill series, and includes secondary characters who appear in at least one of the previous books: Hijacked, Unholy Bonds, and Opal’s Jubilee.

The inspiration for this story came from a couple of different places. I swim, and one day I noticed one of the lifeguards at my pool has a prosthetic leg for an above-the-knee amputation. He got my imagination going, and initially, Sam, in Christmas Hope, was going to be an amputee. Then I saw an article about the Wounded Warrior Project that focused on burns—and in my imagination, Sam’s injuries morphed, leaving him with a bum knee and a mangled face. He now had a different set of problems to overcome.

Part of the inspiration for Becca came from a niece whose tattoos tell much about her, if one is willing to listen—or can create a barrier of preconceived notions, much like Sam’s facial scarring. The other part of Becca’s inspiration came from a widely circulated story from China about forced abortions. While it wasn’t an element that I spent much time on in the story (it is a Christmas story, after all), I wanted to include that as part of my attention to women’s issues in my writing. Becca also had to face the challenges of single motherhood so (unfortunately) common to many.

Besides the themes of finding hope and family in unexpected places, the necessity of looking beyond outward appearances shows up in both Becca and Sam. It is a rare person who is able to quickly look past differences to find common ground. May we all develop that ability.

Here’s the back cover copy for Christmas Hope:

Sam Bledsoe prefers his reclusive existence. A one-man landscape business keeps a roof over his head and food on the table—and keeps his badly scarred face away from curious eyes. But when a woman faints on her way from neighbor Maggie Ross’s house, he doesn’t hesitate. He rushes to help while grappling with memories of the incident that burned him so badly.

Free spirit Becca Sweet is pregnant—and down on her luck. The father of her unborn baby showed his true colors when he showed her the door. The apartment she has lined up isn’t available until the first of the year, and with Christmas and a storm on the way, living in her car is no longer an option. Becca appeals to her no-nonsense sister for help, but Maggie, unaware of Becca’s pregnancy, chooses that moment to dish out some tough love.

When Sam comes to Becca’s rescue, their battered hearts collide. In a moment of holiday magic, they discover that Christmas hope applies to all, even to them. And will hope lead to love, the most precious Christmas gift of all?

Read on for an excerpt from Christmas Hope:

A KALEIDOSCOPE OF MANIC and sorely out-of-season butterflies took flight in Becca Sweet’s stomach as she lifted her hand to press the doorbell of her sister’s house.
Or maybe it was the barely visible baby growing a few inches lower. Nah. She wasn’t quite far enough along to feel anything yet.

Either way, she didn’t relish the next few minutes. She stalled, looking at Maggie and Mike’s house. Her forefinger hovered over the lighted oval in a moment of indecision.

Light flowed out around partially opened draperies, a Christmas tree adorned with sparkling multicolored lights taking center stage in the picture window. A crèche stood silent vigil in the front yard. Snowflakes danced in the wind and settled on her cheeks, then decorated her eyelashes. Her breath created small clouds in the air.

It was so lovely and picturesque, it nearly took Becca’s breath away. Then again, maybe it was the bitter cold that stole her breath. An involuntary shiver ran through her and made up her mind.

She stabbed the bell and stood back, firming her lips and squaring her shoulders.

No more nights in the car. Even if it meant owning up to her failure to keep up payments on the loan Mike and Maggie had advanced awhile back. Evasion had been a bad plan to start out with, but now concern for her baby eclipsed Becca’s pride.

Footsteps sounded in the house, and Becca presented a tight smile at the peephole and waggled a gloved hand.

The door jerked open, revealing Maggie, who planted herself as a human shield between the warmth behind her and the cold swirling around Becca. A range of emotions crossed Maggie’s face, but a flash of what might have been joy was quickly chased off her face and replaced with suspicion.

“Becca. It’s been a long time.” Maggie drew herself up to her full height of nearly five feet four inches.

The tone of her voice almost cowed Becca, but there was more at stake for her now, and she didn’t retreat from her sister’s disdain.

“Hi, Mags.” The fantasy of a welcoming smile and Come in, come in was too much to hope for, so she didn’t.

“What do you want?” Maggie didn’t bother with a smile, whether tight or genuine.

Megan, who was closing in on her fifth birthday, ran up behind her mother and peered around her legs. Maggie put a proprietary hand on her daughter’s head, preventing her from venturing any further. Both sported riotous carrot-colored curls, Megan’s marginally corralled in a whale-spout ponytail atop her head. Maggie wore her hair cropped shorter than the last time Becca had seen her.

Becca buried her ego and forced a light note into her voice. “Got any extra Christmas spirit around? Any you’re willing to share with me?”

Business_Head_Shot_full_size_2Award-winning author Leslie Lynch gives voice to characters who struggle to find healing for their brokenness—and discover unconventional solutions to life’s unexpected twists.
Leslie lives near Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and her adult children’s cats. While not engaged in wrestling the beautiful and prolific greenery of their yard into submission, she flies as a volunteer for the Civil Air Patrol, loves the exuberant creativity and color of quilting and pottery…and, of course, writes.
You can find her at:

Facebook: Leslie Lynch Writes
Twitter: @Leslie_Lynch_

17 thoughts on “Christmas Hope by Leslie Lynch

  1. Good morning, Cindy! I’m delighted to be here! Thank you for the invitation. It’s a glorious, sunny morning with a hint of frost, a perfect day for sharing a cup of tea or a latte in the warmth by a fireplace. I’m looking forward to chatting with anyone who has a moment to drop by. 🙂

  2. Thank you, JoAnne! Credit Kelli Ann Morgan of Inspire Creatve Services for the cover art! I am very pleased with how it turned out. Thank you for stopping by and for you good wishes. I appreciate both.

    • Thank you, Sandy! I love the cover, too! Kelli Ann did a wonderful job! (And I misspelled ‘Creative’ above; that’s what I get for trying to reply using my phone!) Glad you like the excerpt. It gets even more interesting soon thereafter… Thanks so much for taking time out to stop by! 🙂

    • Hi, Miranda! I had quite a time coming up with the title, which sounds silly because it’s such a simple and – you’re right, perfect – title. Glad you stopped by, and I hope you enjoy reading more about Becca and Sam! 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Darcy! The cover is a departure from my previous three, but it says exactly what I wanted it to say. I can’t write light or humorous to save my soul, but this story didn’t have quite the amount of angst that the others do, so the cover fits the content very well. SO good to see you here today! 🙂

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