Gift giving is an age-old challenge with fabulously fresh options, thanks to a host of new releases from area authors. With subjects sure to please men, women and children on any list, holiday shopping can be local and literary, online or in person.

Women’s fiction

“When I sat down to write a Christmas story, I couldn't help but use the original Christmas story as a sort of inspiration,” said Marietta’s Sally Kilpatrick, 2018 Georgia Author of the Year for romance.

“‘Oh My Stars’ takes place in a small-town drive-through nativity with an unlikely Mary and Joseph, as well as an unexpected mystery baby,” Kilpatrick said. “That mystery baby brings two families together and helps a bunch of world-weary, jaded adults find some hope in the Christmas season.”

Kilpatrick is available to speak or conduct writing workshops. Email her at sally@sallykilpatrick.com.

Another holiday-themed title, “A Daddy Sent by Santa,” is the latest release by Cartersville resident Susan Carlisle, author of more than 20 Harlequin novels.

The story of a small-town mom falling for a big-city doctor, Carlisle’s romance features nurse Lauren Wilson and prestigious Boston physician Paxton Samuels, whose attraction heats up once they’re snowed in together.

“But knowing Paxton is due to leave after the festive season,” Carlisle said, “can Lauren risk giving him her heart and her little boy a daddy for Christmas?”

Carlisle is available to speak — and donate novels — to book clubs or other groups. Connect with her at www.SusanCarlisle.com.

Military

“With Honor We Served: War Stories from the Veterans of Mt. Bethel UMC,” features 93 stories compiled by Bob Babcock, chief executive officer and founder of Deeds Publishing in Athens.

The book includes accounts from more than 60 members of the veterans ministry that Babcock formed in 2006 at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta. Their stories stretch from World War II to the War on Terror and “range from funny to sad to many other emotions in between,” Babcock said. Fittingly launched on Armistice Day — the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I — half of the book’s profits will benefit the Atlanta Airport USO.

Babcock, who served as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam, has one new story in the collection. Also included are three tales from his previously published, “What Now, Lieutenant?” an Amazon bestseller Kindle book and one of the 38 military titles on deedspublishing.com. Babcock will be signing all his military books at Marietta’s Casabella Dec. 22 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Another Deeds title is “Dear Dad” by Kathy Williams, the daughter of Gen. Judson F. Miller, who fought across Europe as a platoon leader in World War II and, later, was Babcock’s brigade commander in Vietnam.

Williams chronicled her father’s WWII experiences with the help of more than 60 letters he wrote home to his parents and brothers. He shared the letters with her six decades later, just before he died at 85.

“I promised him that I would get them published,” the Blue Ridge resident said. As she was transcribing her father’s 1940s war dispatches, however, she “felt the need to talk to him, so I began to write to him to finish our conversation that we had begun while he was still alive.”

The result is a touching blend of yesterday and today that Williams will sign at Ellijay’s Walls of Books Dec. 8 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Young nonfiction

“Strong Is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls,” by Kate T. Parker, is the follow-up to the professional photographer’s 2017 image-packed bestseller.

That book, “Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves,” became an international sensation. It features more than 175 of the Roswell resident’s photos celebrating girls from 8 to 12 simply being their capable, captivating selves.  

Released in October, Parker’s “Guided Journal for Girls” is illustrated with favorite shots from “Strong Is the New Pretty,” as well as about 20 new images. Its interactive prompts encourage creative self-expression to turn each journal into a keepsake.

For her next portrait collection, Parker aimed her camera at the opposite sex. “The Heart of a Boy: Celebrating the Strength and Spirit of Boyhood,” will be published in April.

Meet Parker at Avid Bookshop in Athens, Dec. 7 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Still checking your list?

For more gift-giving ideas, consider these additional titles from Georgia authors:

Memoir/nonfiction/mindfulness

“All the Light Inside of You” by Keryl J. Oliver, Roswell. “Readers journey through a riveting series of events that twist and turn, comprising the seasons of the author’s life, and reminding us we are so much more than physical beings and we are never alone.” Oliver will sign books at the Milton Library Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m.

Military history

“Images from World War II: The Art of Jack Smith” narrative by Rona Simmons, Cumming. “Drawings in brush and ink by WWII veteran and commercial artist Jack Smith, who saw duty in the Pacific Theater during the war aboard the USS Hopping. Includes narrative and black and white reproductions of 36 artworks, providing context to the events in the Pacific.”

Romance

“Megan’s Christmas Knight” by Beth Warstadt, Forsyth County. “Megan is running away from her life because she has committed an unforgivable sin that has ruined the lives of everyone she loves. She is rescued from her despair by a mysterious man on a white horse.”

“Emma Lawson Will Ruin Christmas,” by Erica Gerald Mason, Acworth. “When your family won’t stop pressuring you to meet someone special, hire me and I’ll show up and make them sorry they ever believed in happily ever after.”  

“Mary’s Christmas Surprise” by Carol James, Lilburn. “Mary Sherman’s Christmas is nothing like she’s planned. Her fiancé has called off the engagement just days before Christmas, and her parents have gone on an anniversary cruise around the world. Returning to the comfort of her childhood home to spend Christmas in her parents’ empty house, Mary discovers her parents have taken in a boarder, a handsome carpenter named Jake Wolesky.”

Near historical fiction

“Dorothy May” by Janet Hogan Chapman, McDonough. “Who is Dorothy May? No one really knows, but she is a fascinating mystery. Given to an Atlanta woman during the Great Depression, she was raised never knowing her real parents. She was a real person and this novel is based on true events that took place as Dorothy grew from girl to woman, always searching for who she really was. Some women will do whatever it takes to survive, and Dorothy was no exception, setting the stage for a life of passion, crime and madness.”

Young adult science fiction/fantasy

“Between the Nightmare and the Light” is the second novel by Sarah Carroll, a sophomore at Cambridge High School, Milton. “Over a century ago, two god-like beings were released from an eternal prison called The Endless Void. These two beings, later known as Light and the Nightmare, become locked in a bloody conflict. Their hatred leads to the largest war in the history of the known universe, throwing countless people into battles they know cannot be won.”

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