Tag Archives: inspirational romance

Guest Release Promotion—Sparks of Love by Mary L. Ball

SparksofLove-Nov14

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Misjudged and accused, Lynette Cunningham walks away from God and everything she loves. A phone call from her father offers hope. He announces he’s found a clue to the crime that forced her to run. Could this clear her name in her small North Carolina hometown?

Tragedy strikes and Lynette must face the two things that scare her most. The past and a man of God. Someone wants the past to stay buried. Will Lynette stay alive long enough to prove her innocence and accept the Love that is offered?

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EXCERPT

Lynette Cunningham tossed her severance packet on the table and kicked off her sandals. She rubbed her neck to knead the tension. The choices before her would wait. She was sad to be unemployed but excited at the same time. This was her chance to change careers.

Her cell phone chimed. She glanced at the number. “Hi, Dad.”

“How did your last day go?” Her father’s gravelly voice come across the airwaves.

“As planned. All of us employees received our final compensation from

Express Sky. The airline closing has me thinking. I may settle in one place for a while.”

“Honey, often things happen for a reason. The last time I came to see you, I noticed you seemed ready to make a change. Until you decide what to do, why not visit your ol’ dad?”

“I don’t know.” Her words churned as slow as butter.

“Please, come back home. At least for a time. The town has changed since you went away.”

Lynette’s mind drifted to Freedom, North Carolina and the memories of disgust on the faces of the townsfolk when she walked out of the police station a free woman.

“Nothing’s changed, Dad. There’s always going to be talk about that bank robbery.”

“Some folks enjoy the gossip, but you can’t let narrow-minded people rule you. You’re so much like your mother. She held on to a hurt for a long time, too, but I’m certain if Mom were alive, she’d tell you to give them another chance. You need to stop running from the past.” Her father cleared his throat. “I’ve found something which may end all the suspicion.”

Lynette gasped. His words danced around her ears like a buzzing fly.

“What? You discovered evidence to finally prove someone else is responsible?”

“I think so. I wanted to wait until you come back to take it to the sheriff. I realize it’s always been important for you to clear your name from the scandal. Thanks to the Lord’s guidance, this is a chance to help them arrest the real thief. Ten years is a long time for this to go unsolved.”

Her chest rose with a deep breath. “I doubt the Lord has anything to do with it. If God cared, He would’ve helped me years ago. I’m on my own, except for you,” she huffed.

“Darling, your negative talk bothers me. Sometimes, we must accept things and move on.”

“Dad, what did you find?”

“I think someone’s at the door. I’ll call you back later and explain everything.”

Before Lynette responded, silence met her ear. She laid the phone on the table and sat down, her mind on Freedom, North Carolina. As she debated her choices, Lynette drummed her fingers on the glass tabletop. The idea of dredging up the past unnerved her, but proving who was responsible for a crime she was accused of was appealing.

Mary L. Ball-Nov 14

Mary L. Ball is a multi-published author and member of AC FWs. She resides in North Carolina. When Mary isn’t working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband at church functions.

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Character Interview from Love, Lies, and Fireflies by Jan Elder

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Thank you, Linda, for having me on your blog today. My name is Jake Montgomery and I’m a middle school teacher in central Maryland. I live in a little town in the country where just last week I spied a possum in my garbage can. With babies! Nothing much cuter than a baby possum. I grew up in Baltimore so I love it here—all this peace and quiet soothes my soul.

The last year’s been tough, though. I’ve been out of commission, really just sort of withdrew from life when my fiancée died. Got angry at God, angry with myself, the whole bit. I know there’s a grieving period and that’s healthy. But I guess you could say I was wallowing. I didn’t know what else to do. Thirty is way too young to pack it in, don’t you think? After a while, I had what I would describe as a “defining moment.” I wanted to live again and enjoy life. And then, praise God, Didi came into my life, but more about that later.

Are you athletic?

I used to be. I was fortunate to get a tennis scholarship at the University of Maryland. I’d even squeaked (and I do mean squeaked) into the international top hundred list. I was pretty proud to see that number 98 next to my name. And then I did a dumb thing… staircases and tequila straight up just do not mix. Last time I did that darn fool thing! I had to switch to getting a degree in education. I still play some tennis for fun, though, to keep in shape.

Did you always want to be a middle school teacher?

Not exactly, but it seemed like a good fit at the time. Most days I love being a history teacher. Looking at our past can teach us so much about the future. I also coach several sports and working with the kids fills me with joy. There are limits, though, as to how much teacher can do for their students. And of course, we are forbidden to talk about God. Those limitations bring me down. These kids need to know that they are loved unconditionally by a God who sees them and knows them through and through.

Are you a pet person?

I have a cat by the auspicious name of Lucille Ball ‘O Fun. Yes, she has red hair and no, I didn’t name her. I didn’t plan to bunk with a cat—not that I’m against them mind you—but it worked out for the best for both of us. The day I woke up and found her wrapped around my head in earmuff fashion, I figured she could stay. Or rather, if you want to know the truth, she’s a very discriminating Siamese, so I guess I’m lucky she deigned to stay with me!

Talk about your favorite setting for a date. (or favorite way to court a woman)

I’ve never been much of a ladies’ man. Kinda shy I guess, so I’m going to go with the tried and true. Nice dinner, good conversation, a bouquet of flowers, you know, thoughtful things that let a woman know she’s special.

Since I was a little rusty in this area after Victoria died, I tried asking a few of my friends for advice. Can you believe they said I should just take a woman out for coffee and then not call her for a few days? What’s this world coming to when a man can’t even spring for dinner?

What attracts you first to a woman?

I know it might sound cliché, but I do believe the eyes are the windows to the soul. I like a woman who isn’t afraid to show what’s in her heart—one who’s emotions are reflected on her face and in her features. No game playing.

Are you talking about a particular woman?

You betcha. Didi O’Brien…Didi well, I can read her like a fortune cookie and that’s a good thing. I always know where I stand and I don’t have to guess if I’m pleasing her. And talk about sweet! Yes, that’s a good description of her. Sweetness and light. With Didi, the glass isn’t just half-full. It’s filled to the brim and overflowing. I am a lucky man.

Love Lies and Fireflies

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Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not the least bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind.

Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’s been running hard in the wrong direction.

Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart?

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EXCERPT

“But, Kevin, I don’t understand. What do you mean you went out with another girl? What girl?” Didi O’Brien’s swiped at eyes brimming with tears.

Kevin sipped his single malt. “Her name’s Mindy, and she relocated here from the Midwest a few months ago. She’s a Pilates instructor at my gym.” He squirmed in his chair and shrugged. “Look, she’s just a kid of twenty-four, and she doesn’t know anyone here in the area.”

Stomach churning, Didi shoved her dinner away, barely noticing when the sauce from her beef bourguignon splashed onto the white tablecloth. She swallowed, words refusing to come.

Kevin continued in a monotone. “It’s not like I planned it. I was just being a nice guy and showing a stranger around town. You know, being neighborly. Believe it or not, she’s a real nut for baseball, and last night the Nationals were playing the Cardinals….”

“You took her to a baseball game? Last night?” Didi managed to squeak out the words despite the block of granite in her throat.

“Oh, come on. Stop getting so defensive here. You don’t even like baseball. When I saw her last Friday….”

“You went out with her last week, too? On a Friday?” Didi’s voice started out shaky but managed to rise over the conversational hum of the other diners.

“Shhh. Pipe down. Don’t go getting all ‘female’ on me.” Kevin picked up his fork and speared a green bean almondine. “So what if we’ve been to a baseball game, the museum, and had coffee a few times? Last Friday, the Smithsonian had this cool special exhibit on the life of Roberto Clemente. You probably don’t know this, but he’s a Hall of Famer who won the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1966. He led the league in batting average.”

“Have you slept with her?” She had to ask, though she didn’t really want to know the answer.

Kevin didn’t deny it. Instead, he growled, “So what if I did? I told you it’s not serious. Plus, you had some ridiculous church thing going on last Friday, so you weren’t available.”

Her breath caught as she lowered her voice. “That’s hardly the point, Kevin. Did you tell her you’re engaged?”

“Why would I?”

“I’ll take that as a no. Do you love her?”

“Of course I don’t love her, and I’m getting tired of this tête-à-tête. I knew you were going to overreact. Mindy’s a cute kid from Dubuque who needed someone to show her around, and now you’re getting all weird on me, when I was only being considerate.”

Glancing down at his Rolex, Kevin huffed out a sigh. “Maybe we should talk about this after you decide to behave like an adult.” He flagged down the waiter and signaled he was ready for the check. “I decide to be honest, as a courtesy to you, and you put me through a Spanish Inquisition.”

With a hot flush pricking her cheeks, Didi slipped out of the booth, storming toward the exit. She refused to hear any more of his flimsy excuses.

Dodging the other patrons leaving the restaurant, Didi sprinted across the asphalt to her car. She fell into the driver’s seat, jammed her key into the ignition, and zoomed out of the parking lot. She had to get away from that man! On autopilot, she drove through town, barely remembering to stop at the stop signs. Leaving Chez Monte Carlo far, far behind, she headed to the safety of home.

She came to a fork in the road. In no mood to dally, she chose the shortcut home, veering left onto Deer Hollow Road.

Bad decision.

She drove way too fast, but right now, she didn’t care. Sliding on shallow gravel down the first steep hill, she missed the deep ditch on the right side of the road by a narrow margin. Instead, she slammed into a mud-drenched pothole, skittered sideways, and careened toward an ancient oak.

Stamping hard on the brake, she yelped as the car jarred to a halt. Maybe she did care after all. “Please, Jesus, help me get home in one piece. And if Kevin’s still on the road, crash him into the biggest tree you can find!”

Deer Hollow, slippery and dangerous when wet, was rarely her route of choice. Now she remembered why. She shoved her two-door coupe into gear and edged her way toward home. The tires slowed, but her mind raced in circles like an Olympic speed skater. In one tortured hour, her balanced world had been tipped topsy-turvy. She closed her hands tightly around the steering wheel, desperate to make it home before this crazy country lane tore her little red car apart.

With great caution, Didi drove down a steep slope, eased over the one-lane bridge, and rounded a curve. She’d nearly made it to the end of the road when a rabbit darted in front of her. She had just enough time to wrench the wheel hard to the left to avoid it. She braced herself for that horrifying “thump-thump” announcing she’d killed one of God’s furry creatures, then sighed with relief. Missing the bunny was the only happy event in what was otherwise a thoroughly rotten evening.

A cavernous empty space grew in the pit of her stomach as waves of fury crashed over her. Heat crept up her face and tears trickled from her eyes. Why did she always cry when she was mad? Kevin’s announcement had left her reeling. With her adrenaline surging from the near bunny-cide, Didi breathed in and tried her best to calm down. She pulled to the side of the road and stopped the car before she did something stupid. Resting her head on the steering wheel, she slumped deep into her misery. After this terrible night, did she have a clue where her life was going? The uncertainty was unnerving.

A dreary, gray sky hung heavy with unshed moisture. Sheets of rain had drenched the area for three days straight, and another whopper of a storm had been threatening for the past few hours. As she headed again for home, the first drops came splashing and splattering down. Great. Just great. As if to match her mood, wicked forks of lightning streaked across the sky, static electricity crackled in the air, and the rains crashed down with a vengeance.

Didi breathed a quick prayer her car would start and turned the key. Her trusty vehicle purred to life on the first try, even with 138,567 miles and an oil filter that should have been changed a thousand miles ago. She patted the dash and glanced up to the sky. Thank you. Tonight, she would have crawled the three miles home in the driving downpour rather than call Kevin Francis Cabot, a.k.a. The Rat, to come and rescue her.

How could he do that to her? Didn’t she deserve better?

The problem was…she loved him. Until an hour ago, she’d have sworn he loved her, too. What was wrong with her that he’d wanted someone else?

She didn’t want to think about it, didn’t want to try and understand it tonight. With a heavy heart, she banished the conflicting thoughts from her mind and pointed her car toward home.

Jan Elder

Jan is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories other women can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story. Love, Lies, and Fireflies is her third novel. The book delves into weighty subjects such as betrayal, suicide, lost dreams, and the magnitude of God’s mercy and grace. The reader is introduced to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives.

Besides writing romance, she enjoys the occasional hazelnut cappuccino as well as tuning in to Turner Classic Movies. Always an avid reader, she devours books voraciously, both Christian and secular. She was born a cat-lover and all books will, no doubt, feature a feline in some way or another.

Happily married for thirteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.

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Character Interview from Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Sarah, Where were you raised?

I was brought to life in The Heavenlies by the Eternal Father. I stayed close to home until my first mission to Earth. Texas is the first place I’ve visited, and leaving heaven scared the willies out of me. I still get scared at times, but all you humans are nice people and I like you.

Family members?

I have no immediate relatives, but everyone in The Heavenlies is family.

Did you attend college?

Yes. I attended Angel School. The classes were difficult, but I managed to graduate. I still have a lot to learn, but my mentor, Mother Goodness is patient. She continues to give me grades on my behavior. After each mission, the Commander reviews me. He’s kind with his critique. The Father gives the Commander words of wisdom, and I’m grateful for both of them.

Are you athletic?

Are you kidding? No! I’m constantly falling down. I love red stilettos and see ladies stroll easily in them, but not me. I fly barefoot and slide off roofs when I land on them. Ugh. Earth has a hard surface. I’m accustomed to fluffy clouds.

What’s your favorite participation sport?

I suppose I’d have to say baseball, but I don’t understand the game. Gay N. Lewis, the lady who writes about me, wrote about one of my experiences at Minute Maid Park in Houston. I’d gone there to foster a relationship between Bonnie and William. They made strange comments.

Here’s the way Gay wrote about my experience. This excerpt is from Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes.

“After the National Anthem, the game started. A player threw a ball to a man crouched on the ground while another guy stood nearby with a stick on his shoulder. A hunched dude dressed in navy blue stuck a hand in the air and yelled, “Ball!”

A big fellow two aisles down from Bonnie and William stood up and shook his fist. “You stupid umpire, are you blind?”

What? Did they let blind men judge players’ actions on the field? And why did the man in the dark uniform yell ‘ball’? Wasn’t that the name of the game and the reason people came to this place? Surely they all recognized a ball when they saw one. Seriously? These humans shouted the strangest things.

William leaned toward Bonnie. “That pitcher can’t hit a barn, the way he is throwing tonight.”

“Huh?” Sarah voiced the word aloud, but no one noticed. Why would William want the guy to hit a barn? None were even in sight. No cows, horses or other animals roamed about either.

“Stay alive out there. This guy can hit.” A man screamed from behind her.

Sarah shook her head, puzzled. No one lay dead on the grass below and none of God’s death angels hovered above. All the players appeared healthy. Good grief! People thought she spoke in odd phrases. Had they ever considered some of the things they said?”

See what I mean? Baseball is difficult for me to learn. It contains strange jargon.

What do you like most about (your profession)?

I love helping men and women find relationships with each other. I also enjoy learning how humans live. I terrify myself with goof ups down here, but I don’t want to stop coming. Even though I’m insecure and clueless, I laugh at myself for the silly things I do.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?

I’m in the middle of a crazy time right now. On missions to earth, I must create human disguises. My favorite foods are cheeseburgers, fries, and chocolate malts, but my metabolism is of a heavenly nature, and weight is never an issue. At the moment, in order to help a young woman, I’ve added fifty pounds to my frame and I’m eating small portions of rabbit food. My assignment is to help Valerie transform Valerie with a magical makeover. I’m starving. This is difficult. I’ve resorted to sneaking food.  I’m also to teach her to wear makeup and dress. Merciful heavens! I make a bad choice with human female attire when I must call forth a masquerade. Goodness! My wardrobe consists of white muslin robes.  Now, I ask you, how can I do this crazy thing? Teach someone to do something I don’t know how to do?

Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes cover

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A double wedding? Was it possible?

The Superiors want Jessica and Robert to marry, but they throw in a twist–while seeing to their wedding, Sarah, Heaven’s Little Love Angel, must also find a mate for Bonnie, Jessica’s mom. Her orders are to bring about the two weddings simultaneously.

Can Sarah pull it off? Or will her clumsiness destroy two romances in one shot?

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GayNLewisA native Texan, Gay lives in a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures.  Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets.  Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

Gay loves travel, writing, and reading.  As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals.  Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/

Read excerpts on www.prismbookgroup.com

Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.

http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis
www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

What are readers saying about the Sarah series?

“…well-written and entertaining…” Amazon Reviewer

“Sarah, with all her antics is just adorable…”  Amazon Reviewer

“It’s a joyful read and appeals to all ages and personalities. Makes a wonderful gift too!” Amazon Reviewer

Guest Release–Answering Sarah by Nancy Shew Bolton

AnsweringSarah_Cover copy (2)

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After a fire destroys their home when she was a girl, Sarah’s family rebuilds their lives, yet the echoes of the fire’s damage remain. Sarah learned to turn inward, and keep her curious mind to herself, asking God all the questions that her own father used to delight in. But the fire silenced her father, and spread the stillness to the rest of them. Yet Sarah longs to express herself, to find answers to all her questions. A new, young pastor arrives, and captivates her heart. The prospect of a challenging and unexpected life dances before her, but then is held out of her reach. And with the new possibilities come questions she’s never asked herself before. Is she ready for the answers?

BUY LINKS

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EXCERPT

Soon Mary left the library to help fix supper, but Pastor stayed. How she wished he would leave so she could lay her head on the desk and cry away some of this pain. He’d go soon, and then she could give in to her tears.

She sat at her desk and wrote reminders for tomorrow. Considering her jumbled state of mind, she doubted her ability to remember anything. The sound of the door closing made her look up. He hadn’t even said good-bye. She scanned the pegs on the wall. He was in such a hurry to go, he forgot his coat.

He was probably glad to go home, away from her gloomy unfriendliness. Thank God, he couldn’t see how petty she was. What a failure she’d turned out to be. A test came along, and all manner of awful things poured out of her. She wanted to go home.

Sobs shook her as she released the tears and held her bowed head in her hands.

God, please forgive me. Please help me. Please.

“Sarah, what is it? What’s the matter?” Pastor’s alarmed voice cut through her sobs.

Oh, no.

He stood next to her desk. How could she look at him? What could she say? Why was he there?

She tried to catch her breath. “I…I miss my family. I wouldn’t have cried, but I thought I was alone.” She took a few shaky breaths and kept her gaze down.

“I saw Deacon Tobias outside trying to calm down his horse and went out to help him. He said the leaves spooked her.” He was silent a moment. When he spoke, she could barely hear him. “Sarah, how can I help you?”

“I’m all right. Don’t bother about me. I’ll be fine in a minute.” She stood and walked past him to the stacks of books. How could she let herself get to this point? She’d never be able to look him in the eyes again. Heavy silence filled the room. Sarah stood and stared at the books, mind blank, unable to remember what she should do next. She could feel his presence and squeezed her eyes shut.

“Sarah?”

She couldn’t take any more. Why wouldn’t he leave?

Her voice shook. “Pastor, please. I can’t talk right now.”

“Let me help—”

“No. Please leave me alone. Please.”

Silence.

Just go or I’ll lose my mind.

She waited, back stiff, head held high.

“All right.” Pastor’s voice sounded sad and resigned. He must have been so disappointed in her.

She heard him put on his coat. The door closed behind him. Trembling, Sarah walked back to her desk and almost tumbled onto the chair. She crossed her arms over the top of her desk and dropped her head onto them. Her heart yearned for her family and her life as it had been before.

I can’t do this. I don’t have the strength.

Nancy Bolton

Nancy Shew Bolton is a wife of 43 years, mother of five grown sons, and grandmother to a boy and girl. She’s lived in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY all her life. Her faith, her family and her surroundings inspire her writing. Her books explore the many depths of faith and love.

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Guest Promotion–A Lady For The Lawman by Jewell Tweedt

A Lady for the Lawman

The author shares her inspiration behind the story…

I wrote A Lady for the Lawman because I wanted to continue the story of crazy Cal Davidson from A Bride for the Sheriff and develop another strong female character like Claire Maxwell. When working on my master’s degree, I took a course on the Civil War. One of the texts was titled Madness, Malingering and Malfeasance. It was a fascinating work on the transformation of psychiatry and law in the Civil War era. I wanted readers to know that thousands of men suffered mentally as well as physically. Many men did disappear after the war choosing not to return home.

Cal came from my imagination and at the end he receives the treatment he needs but his mental illness affected his life and those like Claire who knew him. The character of Jason Reynolds came from my admiration of the men and women in law enforcement. My brother was a military police man for many years and his courage always impressed me. Arianna Quincy’s strong yet feminine character is based on my niece Arianne who is a kind, gentle, yet strong woman of God.

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On special assignment from the White House to the Nebraska prairie…

Crack undercover Pinkerton agent Jason Reynolds gets the toughest assignment of his career. Sent by President U.S. Grant to Omaha to capture a loco ex-soldier accused of stealing Jefferson Davis’ treasury gold, Jason falls for feisty shopkeeper Arianna Quincy. Trouble is, she’s not interested. When the lunatic grabs Arianna, Jason’s skills are put to the test. Can Jason get his man and his woman?

BUY LINK

Amazon

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Jewell Tweedt was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, the setting for the Nebraska Brides series. She lives in western Iowa and divides her time between teaching middle school students and writing. In her spare time she reads, gardens and grades papers. Lots of papers.  Readers can learn more about Jewell and her books at www.tweedtjewell.blogspot.com

Guest Promotion–The Tempered Series by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Tempered Series Bundle 4a

Now all 4 titles in the Tempered Series by Pamela S Thibodeaux are combined into a single book along with a bonus short story and a sneak peek into #5 in the series Tempered Truth (coming sometime in the near future)!

Contains: Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams, Tempered Fire, Tempered Joy, & Lori’s Redemption

Start at the beginning and follow these beloved characters throughout the years as love crosses the lines of age and strengthens the bonds of friendship.

Available at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords

Note: 50% off at Amazon & Smashwords thru July 31st!

Pamela S Thibodeaux publicity photo

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

 

Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

Author Interview–Susan Baganz

Today I’m pleased to host an author friend from Prism Book Group, Susan Baganz. Let’s get chatting.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a stay-at-home mom raising three kids, a dog and a parrot. I have a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and have worked in the field of mental health for years, as well as worked in church ministry (paid and unpaid) for the past 26 years.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Reading, rubber stamping homemade cards, and sometimes I pretend to play the guitar.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I start with characters and most likely an inciting incident. I might have a vague plot but no details. I write romance so I know at the end there will be a “happily ever after.”

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I’m freestyle all the way. I call myself a “panster.” I write like I drive – by the seat of my pants! (thankful for cruise control on my van!). I sometimes do research beforehand but even with my novel due out at the end of April, I was looking up and following the Green Bay Packer’s schedule as I went along as my timelines was linked to that season’s games.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

If I’m writing historical (Regency era) then it’s classical. But for my contemporary series I’ve got a shuffle of songs by Burlap to Cashmere and Steven Delopolous.  Love the sound of their music so that’s been my most recent soundtrack. It used to be I wrote to nothing and sometimes I still do. Depends on my mood.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

My contemporary series starting with Pesto and Potholes, takes place in the northwest suburbs of Milwaukee and I used to live and work in that area I write about. I can imagine myself driving on those roads. My historicals take place in Great Britain and while I have traveled there, it was long before I started writing so I do long to return. I have to watch great movies (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice anyone?) to absorb the culture and traditions. I don’t think my husband wants me to return there though as he fears I may never return (he might be right!).

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

How terrible I writer I am. I type fast and I think my fingers struggle to keep up with my brain so the spelling errors and tense irregularities startle me when I read them later. I’m often shaking my head saying “What was I thinking?”

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

Up at 5 a.m. and get ready for the day. Make a cup of spiced chai and sit in my favorite spot for some time with God. Sometimes I read for a little after that. Or go and check my email and Facebook. 6:55 I get my kids up and make lunches and get them off to school by 8. Recently I’ve had therapy appointments so off I go to that, maybe grocery shop and then home to write or work on novels I’m editing. 2:30 pm my alarm goes off to remind me to wind things up. I go get the mail and pick up the kids from school and come home by 3:15. Then it’s often back to editing or writing until my kids complain that they are hungry. Because writing is so isolating, I do try to be intentional in planning a few hours away from my desk every so often to meet with a friend over coffee or lunch. Sometimes great ideas are born out of those times!

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

My novel is contemporary but I also write historical romantic suspense (Regency period). I also have some contemporary romantic suspense novels that are awaiting attention.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I have a cranky Quaker parrot named Quincy who is about twenty years old now. We also adopted a Maltese mix two years ago. His name is Spatzle and he’s so unique with one brown eye and one blue eye. He’s my buddy.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope they gain encouragement in their struggles. That they can see God at work in the lives of my characters and recognize the work He is doing in their own lives. Most of all I want them to see that the greatest romance is with Jesus Christ. His love, devotion and sacrifice as modeled, in the instance of Pesto and Potholes, in my hero, Antonio.

This series is also set against the backdrop of a church. I want to help show people the value and importance of being involved in a community of believers and how central that can before God’s work in growing us up in Christ.

PestoandPotholes2BLURB:

Renata tries escape her past and runs straight into . . . love.

Renata Blake has moved to the Milwaukee area to leave behind a painful past as a victim of abuse. She discovers a family like she’s never had before, at Orchard Hill Church and is drawn to handsome Packer fanatic, Antonio. After all she’s suffered through, could she ever trust a man again?

Antonio DeLuca has a full life with his family, church and his job as chef and manager at DeLuca’s Cucina. Having been betrayed in love, he is afraid to trust a woman again. How would he fit her into his already full life anyway?

As circumstances draw them together and attempt to tear them apart, life becomes a combination of savory pesto and painful potholes as both Tony and Renata learn that with God’s help, and the support of a faith community, they can both learn to love again.

And maybe fight a few ninjas along the way.

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EXCERPT

Sunday was cold. The sun shined brightly, and Renata sat at church surrounded by more of the De Luca clan. Tony winked at her, and they worshipped together. She experienced such joy and freedom in the music and lyrics. This was the new Renata. Free. Joyful. Loved. What a difference from a year ago.

After church, she raced home to change into jeans, sneakers, a sweater and coat. She pulled on knit gloves to keep her hands warm and found a matching knit cap to put on her head.

Tony arrived to pick her up in his car and they went through the drive-thru at Taco Bell for something to eat. Renata laughed when part of Tony’s burrito dribbled onto his sweatshirt.

They arrived at Brown Deer Park early, and Tony suggested they take a walk over by a small pond.

“This is such a peaceful place.” Reverent awe filled her voice as she gazed about.

“Sure is, but watch out for the goose doo doo.”

“Doo doo? Is that an Italian term for poop?”

Tony laughed, “No, that’s me trying to be more delicate since I am with a gorgeous woman in a beautiful place.”

“Awww, Tony, you are sweet.” They walked side by side, not touching. Renata could see their breath in the air.

“Edith agrees with you.”

“Edith? My neighbor?” Renata stopped to stare at him.

“Yeah, the other night she gave me a kiss because you had neglected to do it for her.”

Renata laughed. “Is she my competition for your affections?”

“Are you seeking my affections?” He looked at her with one eyebrow raised.

Renata looked away. Her entire neck and head grew warm.

“You have no competition. No one can compare to you.” His voice was seductive to her ears when he used those words.

“Now you go too far, Tony. I’m not as perfect as you think I am.” She had to reign this in. She didn’t want to lead him on.

“Who said you were perfect? Surely not I.” He placed his hand flat on his chest.

Renata laughed and gave Tony a playful punch in the arm, but was quickly distracted. She pointed to the pond. “Look at the geese coming in to land. They look like they are waterskiing when they put their feet down.”

“Waterskiing geese. Now I’ve seen everything. What will you think of next, Ren?”

“I don’t know. I thought it was your turn to be absurd for a while.”

Tony reached out and tickled Renata. “Stop!” She laughed and started tickling him back and took off running into the grass. Tony ran after her and with his longer legs managed to catch her causing them both to fall on the leaf-covered lawn. Renata grabbed a handful of leaves and tossed them at Tony, and he returned the favor. Soon they lay there in the leaves giggling and gasping for a breath.

“It is beautiful out here.” Renata said. “It’s hard to believe this is Milwaukee.”

“It’s hard for me to believe my good fortune to be sharing this with you.” Tony looked over to Renata and reached to grab her hand to give it a squeeze.

Renata’s shoulder muscles seized at his touch. The touching, the laughter, and the sense they were alone in the world without any past or present or future to worry about, shook her. She needed him too much. No. She wanted him. She desired him. She looked at his face, so close to hers and imagined what it would feel like to kiss him. Stop. This has to stop. No man will ever love you. No man will ever see you as more than a plaything. The messages bombarded her.

The monsters were back.

Baganz 0524 Edited colorSusan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.

She has been published in Splickety Magazine and in the I Choose You anthology with OakTara Press. Pesto and Potholes is her first contemporary romance novel in the Orchard Hill Series. The second, Salsa and Speedbumps, will follow hopefully in December. She is represented by Mary Sue Seymour for her adventurous Regency Romances.

You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com, her twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz. She is on pinterest at www.pinterest.com/silygoos/

 

 

 

Guest Interview–Karen Cogan

Today I’m chatting with Karen Cogan, an author friend from Prism Book Group.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I have written fiction since elementary school. I remember writing and illustrating stories for my second grade teacher. Since I’m a terrible artist, I’m sure she wondered how the picture went with the story!

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

My hobbies away from the computer are thumbing through recipes, mostly on the computer. I garden occasionally. I have a passion for learning new horse techniques and ride my quarter horse most days.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

My writing style is mostly free-style. A story line occurs to me and the characters that are to fill the rolls. I have an idea of what problems they will encounter and how the story will end. Then, I begin writing and let the characters lead me where they will go.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

One of my novels is set in Ouray, Colorado. It is a beautiful town set in a valley between the mountains. I became fascinated with the mining history and early settlement. I spent time poking around the town with my husband and getting photos. After that, I did extensive research and enjoyed writing a historical novel set in that location.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

I have written in several different genres. I have children’s picture books in print and middle grade novels. I also write sweet, adult contemporary and historical novels. I have written a time-travel novel set in the time of Lafitte, the pirate, in Galveston, TX. It is scheduled for release in January.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

Besides a horse, I have cats and dogs. I always thought of myself as a dog person. However, we took in a cat we found abandoned at a store and she has become one of my “babies”.

In what genres do you read?

I enjoy reading in the genre of mystery and suspense, as well as inspirational romance.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope my readers take away the message that, while life is unpredictable, there is a plan for our lives. Though we are not always in control of events, they may be assured that God knows the plan and will bring it to fruition.

RunawayHearts_Cover

BLURB

Lynn parked her truck in front of the adobe school building, took a deep breath, and let her body adjust to the stillness. It was an odd sensation after jostling over miles of rutted roads in her attempt to find this place. She stared at the doorway for a moment, mustering the nerve to go inside. Since, she’d come this far, She might as well get out of the truck and find out how far over her head she had gotten herself in this time.

EXCERPT

Copyright © 2012 Karen Cogan

Lynn’s thoughts scattered in a million directions as they grabbed their bags and wove their way through the holiday crowds to wait in the car rental line. When they finished the paperwork, they found the dark blue Probe that Greg had reserved for the ten days in which he was to stay at the rental property.

He handed the keys to Lynn. “I may know Albuquerque, but you know Houston.”

“At least well enough to get us home.”

They drove into the late afternoon rush hour traffic. The sun looked pale and anemic peeking through the gray clouds. Lynn turned on the wipers as a light drizzle began to fall.

“This is my least favorite type of weather. Cold and rainy,” she said.

“I thought you disliked snow the most.”

“Snow can be pretty when you don’t have to drive in it.”

“OK. If it starts to snow, I’ll drive.”

Lynn laughed. “Fat chance.”

It was dusk when Lynn pulled next to her mom’s Lincoln in the parking slot of the red brick townhouse. The decorative outside lantern glowed with a soft welcoming light. She turned off the engine and stretched her arms. “We’re here.”

“It’s an attractive place. Georgian?”

“You got it. I didn’t know you knew architecture.”

“I don’t. It was just a lucky guess.”

Lynn started to the trunk. Greg stopped her and said, “I’ll get your luggage after we meet your Mom.”

She smiled, grateful for the offer. She couldn’t wait to get out of the cold drizzle and let Mom know they were here. Mom would have worried all afternoon whether they would be delayed at the airport, have an accident or lose their luggage. The sooner they got in, the sooner they could ease her mind.

Lynn preceded Greg up the porch steps to the polished oak door. A glow of light shone through the oval etched glass window. Rectangular windows beside the door gave off their own assurance of the warmth and light within. Lynn felt a surge of homesickness for her mother and for the childhood she had left behind.

She rang the bell.

Footsteps reverberated on the marble entry. A shadow crossed in front of the light and poised to open the door. Lynn reached out, ready to embrace her mother.

The door swung open and Lynn gasped. Her arms fell to her sides. Her throat went dry.

“Mark,” she croaked.

“Hi, Lynn.” He smiled a welcoming smile. “It’s good to see you. You look wonderful.”

He noticed Greg, behind Lynn in the shadows. The surprise on his face spoke volumes as he stepped aside to let them enter.

“Your mother told me you were bringing a friend.”

And let you believe it was a female friend, Lynn thought, feeling her face heat with embarrassment.

“This is Greg Martin. He teaches at my school. Greg, this is Mark Andrews.”

The men shook hands and exchanged a greeting as they sized each other up. Lynn wondered what Greg must be thinking. She hoped he knew she had no part in this and was, in fact, chagrined at the comparison Mom had arranged.

Still, it was typical of Mom. And since, it wasn’t Mark’s fault that he had been invited or that she resented his presence, she would have to smile and make the best of things.

Mom glided into the entryway. She was dressed in a peach angora pantsuit, giving off the first impression most people had of her as soft, sweet, and easily led.

Lynn grimaced. They did not know her iron will as Lynn did. Maybe someday, these awkward moments would be funny. Perhaps she and Greg would look back on them with amusement. At the moment, she was not amused.

“I thought I heard voices,” Joyce said.

She held Lynn in front of her as she did when Lynn was a little girl. “I don’t think you’ve been eating well. We’ll have to work on feeding you well enough to finish one more semester.”

She turned to Greg. “This must be your friend.”

Greg extended his hand. “Greg Martin. It’s good to meet you, Mrs. Martin.”

She looked from Lynn to Greg. “Martin? You have the same last name. How quaint. But do call me Joyce. Mrs. Martin sounds so old.”

As “Joyce” wrapped her arm through Lynn’s and led her away, Lynn thought it was funny how her mother wanted to appear old and frail when it suited her purposes and young when it did not.

“I have a nice roasted chicken dinner I bought at the deli this afternoon. It’s all warmed and waiting. You can tell me about your trip while we eat. Did your luggage arrive? I’ve been so worried about having you travel this time of year. I hear there’s a lot of crime at the airports.”

Lynn glanced behind her and wondered what Mark was thinking about being invited to a dinner where his romantic interest showed up with another man. And Greg? His face was an inscrutable mask. She feared that behind that mask were some very interesting thoughts. Just what those thoughts were, she would have to wait until they were alone to find out.

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from 5 star review:”

“There is plenty of humour and well drawn characters with sub plots that draw us in. Ms Cogan uses the New Mexico setting to set the mood and even play a role in the plot. I really enjoyed this story.”

Karen Cogan

BIO:

A native of Houston, TX, Karen spent her early years enjoying life along the Gulf Coast. After high school, she attended Texas A&M as well as the University of Houston where she obtained a B.S. in early childhood education. She has written numerous articles and stories, books for children and novels for adults. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary and historical romance, and now lives in the Southwest with her family and assorted pets.

Web Contacts:

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

 

Release promotion–Postmarked Ever After

Postmarked_Ever_After-cover-001

 

BLURB

A delayed letter and a message from afar unite two hearts.

Recently widowed, Serena Gray battles the daily drama of the Emergency Room, as well as her grief. When a mysterious letter arrives, it raises questions about a past she’d only heard her beloved husband speak about.

While on hospital rounds, she sees a child’s brush with death and recounts a vivid dream that bears a message.

Will she risk happiness for the truth or keep a secret from the past?

EXCERPT

Serena unplugged her curling iron and finished her hair. The doorbell rang and she walked from the bedroom to the living room to let Adam inside. “Hi, come on in. I need to get my shoes and I’ll be ready.”

“Okay, I’ll wait right here.”

Adam kissed her and watched her bare feet take brisk steps to the hall. He ambled over to the fish tank and peeked in the glass at the Neon’s swimming, then sat down on the sofa. Adam glanced at the typed forms lying on the coffee table and remembered Serena mentioned trashing records. As he waited, his attention went to the handwritten letter resting on the sofa beside him. He looked away, not wanting to be nosy. Why does that writing seem familiar? Once more, his vision focused on the note. The signature that read “Katie” caught his eyes. Katie, Serena must have a friend with the same name.

Adam heard Serena make a noise and started to stand. He noticed the worn message again. The name Nicky seemed to jump off the page. It has to be a coincidence, can’t be my family. Before Adam considered his actions, he picked the letter up and began to read.

Serena tossed a pair of low heels in the closet and then tried on three pairs before deciding on wedge sandals. She walked into the living room and saw Adam standing rigid. She looked at his pasty white face. In an instant, she noticed his eyes narrowed to a slit. As Serena wondered what was wrong her gaze fell to his hand. He gripped the letter and ogled at her.

“Serena, what is this?” Adam’s words came out slow and controlled.

“Adam, let me explain.” Serena touched her throat and swallowed hard as she stared at Adam’s hand clenched to the letter.

“Really, this ought to be good!” Adam’s words echoed in the room. His nostril flared. “This is Katie’s writing, and she’s talking about our daughter.” Adam gritted his teeth “Where did you get this?  Was Jason your husband?”

Serena wanted to cry, but she held her emotions back. “Adam, please set down and let me explain.”

“No, I’ll stand… you talk.” He nodded toward the note in his hand.

“Jason was my husband and Nicky’s real father. I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you, but I fell in love with you, and then I didn’t want to hurt you or Nicky. I was planning to tear the letter to shreds.” Serena’s voice was low and flat. She hugged her arms as she responded.

“So you’ve had this all along and didn’t bother to mention it,” he hissed.

“I didn’t know what to do. There was no reason to say anything” Serena slumped on the corner of the couch. “Both Jason and Katie are gone. You’re all that Nicky has left.”

Adam glared at Serena. “Am I to believe that this letter, you and I, our love…. It’s all coincidence.”

“Yes,” Serena shook her head. “I didn’t plan to meet you and I assure you my love is real.”

“Hah, I don’t know what’s true anymore.”  Adam stepped back and put more distances between them. “You owe me a better explanation.”

Serena held her head up and looked at Adam. “The letter arrived months after Jason’s accident” She turned her head from Adam, and the stone-cold gawk she saw. “I put the envelope away and decided to forget about it.” Serena stepped closer to the sofa. “I moved to Greensboro because my mother has Alzheimer’s.”

She rubbed her forehead. “I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was the day I met Nicky at school, and then you.” She twisted her hands as she talked. “I wasn’t sure if you knew you weren’t Nicky’s biological father, and I saw how much she loves you. I didn’t want to stand in the way of the relationship you two have.”

Adam’s mind teetered with indecision, “sounds farfetched and doesn’t set well, if this is innocent you should have told me from the beginning.”

In one fast movement, Adam tossed the letter down and opened the front door, “Serena if you care anything for Nicky, you’ll keep this information to yourself. One day, I’m going to tell her everything, but I figure she’s entitled to grow up with a happy childhood. ”

Adam eyed Serena. “As for us, “I’ll not have a life with a woman who keeps things from me, never again.”

The door slammed. She squeezed her eyes tight in an effort to hold back the tears that flowed. Serena was sure she understood the way a wounded animal hurt as the sound of sobbing carried throughout the room.

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Mary Ball

BIO:

Mary L. Ball is an inspirational author and lives in North Carolina.

In her books, Mary hopes to encourage people to see the wonder of love and a divine guidance.

When Mary isn’t working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband at functions.

Web contacts

http://marylouwrites.weebly.com/

http://marylouwrites.weebly.com/-behind-every-story-blog

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-author-Mary-L-Ball/200478210087932?ref=hl

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5934448.Mary_L_Balll