Welcome to the inaugural Back to School Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt. We hope that throughout this hunt, you discover some new books and get to know a little more about us.

A few things before you begin:

This hunt is a blog hop. Collect the “clues” (pieces to the longer phrase) at each stop. Enter the individual giveaways along the way, then click on the link to the next stop and repeat until you reach #28, where you will input the full phrase as your entry to the grand prize drawing.

The hunt begins August 30, 2023, at noon EST and ends September 4, 2023, so you have plenty of time to visit each stop. If you need to step away and come back later, make a note of the last stop you visited, and go to Suzie’s post with the list of all stops on the hunt.

If you are having trouble viewing the posts, you may need to switch browsers. Chrome and Firefox sometimes work better than Microsoft Explorer or Edge.

It’s Back to School Time!

Hi y’all. If you don’t know me, I’m Crystal Caudill and I write “Dangerously Good Historical Romance,” aka historical romantic suspense. I have a complete series out about the Secret Service during the Gilded Age full of danger, romance, and strong faith elements. Check out this link to learn more about the Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age Series.

Here in Kentucky, most of our schools start in August, so my youngest son is in the throws of tossing off his summer schedule and slugging through an early to rise early to bed schedule . . . and let’s just say, sleeping in was a favorite summer past time. While my brainiac whiz-kid will have no problem breezing through school and getting all A’s in all that he puts his hands to, that was not the case for me. He definitely has the brains of his father and not his mother, which is probably a good thing. 😉 

Even though school was a bit of a struggle for me as I fought for every grade, that didn’t mean I didn’t have fun. I was very much my own person–embarrassingly so. Thankfully, I don’t have pictures anymore; it was long before the days of camera phones. My ninth-grade year was a fashion disaster of the utmost kind. I mostly shopped at Goodwill, and apparently, my goal in life was to wear the most outlandish and boy-detracting outfits I could find.

Imagine something like this, but not form-fitting, and you can see the cuffs and skirt lines.

I still remember one outfit my dad nicknamed “The Red Nun.” It was bright red–no exaggeration, the same color as this font color. And don’t think for a moment that the material was fancy or flattering. Nope. That particular dress was almost sweatpants material. I still can’t believe I didn’t sweat out of existence. Although, maybe my youngest son has more in common with me than I thought. That child will wear a heavy winter jacket all day long, all year long, if you let him. But I digress . . .

The thick turtle neck stretched all the way to my chin in a fold-over layer. The elastic cuffed sleeves went past my wrists, and I could hide my hands if I wanted. And then there was the skirt. The dress had to be homemade, for the line between the bodice and skirt was obvious, and the skirt kissed the tops of my sneakers that I’d wear with it. I was a hot mess. No wonder none of the boys I actually crushed on would give me a second glance–except maybe out of utter horror. 

However, I DID have a penchant for attracting the “bad boys” of the school. I’ve always had a heart for the unseen and the rejected, probably because I felt that way myself. I always tried to treat people with kindness and genuinely listen to them. This led to some interesting boys crushing on me. I still remember the one guy who tried to impress me with all his talks about his street fighting prowess, showing me his scabbed-over knuckles and brass knuckles as proof. I genuinely thought he was a good person, just misguided. And I was on a mission to show that he didn’t have to behave that way to impress people or be accepted. I never allowed the relationship to go anywhere. We parted ways at graduation, wishing each other well.

Aggressive young gangster with brass knuckles to fight isolated on white background

Fast forward a few years into my marriage. My husband and I were visiting my parents and stopped at the grocery store. Who should I run into but him? He was so excited to see me. He hugged me and introduced me to his wife, “This is Crystal, the girl from high school I told you about.” Y’all, the daggers of jealousy his wife sent me were palpable. I still laugh over the memory. That woman had nothing to worry about from me. I was glad to see him happily married, just as I was happily married. I’ve never made it back to a high school reunion, and honestly, I never will if I can help it. High school–and school in general–was wrought with lots of challenges for me. But I do sometimes wonder how he turned out. 

So there you have it. A small piece of my high school existence. Now you no longer wonder why I write romances filled with challenging characters, danger, and sometimes funny behaviors. I write from experience. I can say without hesitation that my favorite part of school was counting down the days until sweet Christmas Break freedom–filled with carols, baked goodies, and family traditions. That’s why for this scavenger hunt, I’m featuring my upcoming release, We Three Kings: A Romance Christmas Collection.

This unique collection follows the legacy of three Weise men moguls, from a Gilded Age ocean voyage to Monuments Men World War II to a contemporary essential oils empire. Love, laughter, hope, and German Christmas traditions abound in this trio of stories I, Cara Putman, and Angela Ruth Strong wrote.  You can read more below, and DON’T FORGET to go all the way to the bottom for your Scavenger Hunt phrase AND an extra giveaway. 

About We Three Kings


Best-selling romance authors Caudill, Putman, and Strong follow three generations of the Weise family in this third collection of Christmas novellas from Kregel that will prove just as popular as the previous award-winning volumes.

“Star of Wonder” by Crystal Caudill
The Christmas-themed maiden voyage of his family’s grand steamer ship was supposed to be Aldrich Weise’s chance both to instill investor confidence and to romance Celestia Isaacs. Instead, he must foil a criminal and leave his lady love behind forever.

“Beauty Bright” by Cara Putman
Lieutenant Charles Weise served as a Monuments Man after World War II and now works to restore stolen art to rightful owners. Captain Lillian Thorsen pairs up with him not only to return treasures but also to fix the war-torn lives around them.

“Perfect Light” by Angela Ruth Strong
Essential oils mogul Brendon Wise is drawn to Lacey Foster, the event planner for his huge Christmas lights festival. But when he inadvertently makes a spectacle of her on television, Lacey wants nothing to do with him. Will a chance to give gifts to those in need at Christmas be the key to discovering common ground–and maybe love?

Purchase Links: Amazon  |  Baker Book House  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Christianbook  |  GoodReads

Scavenger Hunt Details & Extra Giveaway

Here is your next clue: hand has

Next Stop: Lee-Ann Brodeur


How to enter: Comment on this post with what your favorite high school memory is and then enter the Rafflecopter. Entrants must comment on the blog first to qualify. Other entries are just extra.

Prize: Booklight with $10 Starbucks gift card (because the beginning of the school year requires coffee), and a homemade book sleeve.

Open to all legally eligible participants (determined by your country’s laws) from August 30 to September 4 11:59 pm EST. By entering, the winner agrees to be contacted by email. An email will be sent out on September 6th, and the winner will have until September 13th to respond before a runner-up will be drawn and contacted.

*International winners will get an Amazon Gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s a high school memory that sticks out to you?

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