Tag Archives: Prism Book Group

Guest Release Promotion–Hill Country Homecoming by Julie B Cosgrove

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Sarah has the dollars and sense. Travis possesses the horse sense. When tragedy befalls the Bar-M one Christmas, can they put aside their differences to save it?

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EXCERPT

Live rich, marry richer.

That had been Sarah Mansfield’s goal since grade school. Now, after years of plotting and planning, it lay within reach. She angled the two-carat round-cut solitaire, surrounded by a myriad of smaller stones, to catch the light streaming through the car window. The facets glimmered in the warm, winter sun as it bounced off the bare cypress branches swishing overhead.

Her fiancé, Tucker Simpson, sat next to her in his shiny, new Italian convertible. As he shifted gears and pressed the clutch, his hand-stitched, never-stepped-into-manure boots gave off a soft whiff of saddle-soap. Outside the window, the glistening emerald Guadalupe River wound along the state road like a lazy rattler seeking shade.  “It is the one you wanted. From Harrison’s, right?”

“Yes. I should have known you’d dare not shop anyplace else.” She gave him a teasing wink.

“Only the best for my girl. As soon as I signed the Henderson account with the firm, it proved my worth.” His diamond-eyed, eighteen-carat gold longhorn tie tack blinked in her direction. Symbol of graduating in the top of his Texas law school class.

She grinned.

He slipped his hand from the gearshift and laced his fingers through hers. “After only six months with Abernathy, Smith and Firth, I am the newest junior partner, at $300K a year. Now, I can almost afford you.”

“The ring is perfect. Just like you, honey.” She fluttered her mascara-laden eyelashes and pecked his golf-course-bronzed cheek in response.

His French aftershave, at $129.95 an ounce, swept her into euphoria. Yep, all the effort and waiting had paid off.  Born into one of the wealthiest horse breeding families in Central Texas, Sarah spent her summers galloping across the plains in the morning, lounging on rafts in the river through the afternoons, and kicking up dust at the rodeo dances until midnight, all the while tantalizing the local boys she kept at arm’s length. While they offered a certain amount of fun, they didn’t fit the bill. Too uncouth and prone to spit chewing tobacco.

The school year, spent in San Antonio, sequestered her in an upscale parochial girl’s school away from the inner city sharks, though a few boldly circled the posh pond trying to lure a socialite with their good looks and slumming charms. Nice playthings on which to practice her femininity, but long ago, she’d set her sights on far larger fish—Dallas or Houstonian guys with daddy’s money bulging from wallets in the back pockets of their too-tight jeans.

After she graduated, she attended one of the top private colleges in the state and pledged a sorority—the one of her mother and grandmother. Next, she spent the obligatory year touring Europe with the other debutantes, per time-honored protocol, in order to round out her cultural repertoire and to catch the eyes of rich and eligible cosmopolitan bachelors. The fact she had enough brains to make straight A’s all the way through school hardly mattered. Graceful flirtations, the right haircut and perfume, and a flawlessly tanned body did.

Her best friend, Emma Rose, landed a minor British duke, but Sarah’s attention fell on Tucker as he volleyed the beach ball while summering on the Italian Riviera. His rippled abs captured the Mediterranean sunbeams and ricocheted into her heart. She used every feminine wile in her well-bred arsenal to convince him to snare her instead of one of the other girls, and then played a mild hard-to-get to reel him in. She convinced her father to pay for her to get her Master’s in Renaissance English Literature at the university in Dallas so she could keep Tucker wiggling on the hook once he landed employment at the prestigious law firm. It was also where she made her debut into society, accumulating well-established names and addresses for her future wedding invitations.

Yep, her plans had fallen in place. Sarah laced her arm through Tucker’s and leaned into his shoulder blade. She raised her left hand higher. “Everyone at the Christmas Dance tonight at the Bar-M Ranch will wish they were us. You are going to drool over my dress.”

“I’d prefer to see you out of it, but I know you are the wait-until-the-honeymoon type.”  She lifted off his chest and protruded her lower lip as she twisted to face him. “Which you’ve agreed to abide by.”

“Anything for you, angel. You just keep reminding me you’re worth the wait, okay?” He winked.

She snickered. “My daddy will, for sure. He’s won awards for his rifle shooting.”

Tucker cleared his throat. “How many folks are you expecting tonight?”

“Oh, around two-hundred I guess.” She scrunched her nose and swished back her palomino-blonde hair. “Dad insists on letting the ranch hands and their families join in the holiday festivities. Which, unfortunately, means Mr. Righteous will be in attendance.” She mimed a gag, dipping her finger to the back of her tongue.

Tucker’s eyes twinkled in response as he draped an arm over her shoulders and pulled her close. “You mean your dad’s right hand man, Travis?”

She snuggled into his ribcage and yawned. “That’s the one. Hope he leaves his Bible in the bunkhouse. I don’t want religion spoiling my Christmas.”

He reared his head back, revealing a protruding Adam’s apple peeking from his starched and professionally pressed Oxford shirt collar. A laugh exploded from his lips.

“Turn down that road up ahead on the right, honey, where you see the large oak and the Texas flag.”

“Yes’m.” Tucker twisted to face her as she rose off his torso and smoothed her hair back into place. “Sarah. Am I seriously supposed to get on this Travis’ good side? I mean, could he prevent our wedding if he disapproved?”

She brushed a piece of lint from her French designer jeans. “Daddy always values his opinions about raising horses, so sometimes he gets his nose a bit too high, if you get my meaning. But”—she lifted her gaze and narrowed her blue eyes—“if that cowpoke hisses, you ignore him. He’ll slither back into his hole where he belongs as soon as he realizes Daddy’s happy as long as I’m happy.”

“Good to know.” His eyes returned to the road winding through the prairie grass ahead of them.

Julie Cosgrove

Julie B Cosgrove has ten contracted novels and novellas published or in the works. She also writes for seven devotional publications and websites and is a professional speaker who leads women’s religious retreats and writers’ workshops. Julie lives in Fort Worth, Texas but her heart is at her family’s property in the Texas Hill Country on the Guadalupe River.

 

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Guest Release Promotion—UnderStory by Lisa Lickel

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Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. She’s found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge.

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies.

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EXCERPT

Kingston’s cabin was maybe half a mile away through the woods, if she got the direction right. He’d hide her for a while, help her figure out what to do. She had to be close to the turn-off toward the tiny crossroads community of Spruce. She could make it. If she alerted the authorities before Art found her, she might stay alive.

If she wanted to. Brisk air reinvigorated her brain cells, forcing them to work overtime, remembering the bad parts about growing up, and now, trying to do more than run on instinct. A woman like her, born defective, was useless, her father said. She shouldn’t bother trying to get a boyfriend, her mother told her.

But she wasn’t useless and had done well…until lately.

She would figure this out and live.

She had to. For Kenny.

Art would be mad when he realized she’d taken his new Jeep. He didn’t really think she was that stupid, did he? To believe she’d hide out until he could have her declared dead? That he would turn over part of the insurance money so she could start over somewhere else at the age of twenty-eight?

Her breath glittered in the rusty morning light through the fine powdery flakes swirling down. Honeysuckle grabbed her jeans. Hawthorn tore her cheek, tugged back her hood and tangled in her hair, pulling it from the loose bun she’d tied before huddling into her mother’s old coat. She didn’t even pause. The coming storm had been forecast for the past three days, with each prediction adding inches to the snow total.

She hitched the nubby wool higher around her ears, dragging the red plaid fringed blanket into the understory.

Lisa Lickel A (3) 105 KB

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer and editor. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. She is vice president of Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat, Inc. Lisa loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and workshops, is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor.

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

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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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Guest Post–The Road To Our New Normal by DiAne N. Gates

We are the object of attention—until the day after the funeral. That’s when everyone’s life returns to normal. Everyone else’s life, that is.

But not ours.

After our twenty-eight-year-old daughter suddenly died of a hemorrhagic stroke, we were left on the outside looking in. We humans want to fit in and we’re miserable when we don’t. And in the aftermath of grief we didn’t belong. Anywhere. We felt like we’d been stuffed in a sack, shaken up and dumped out. Forever changed.

There’s good news and bad news about grief. The bad news? We will never be the same again. The good news? Although we didn’t know it, we were on the way to our new normal.

But that’s a long trip.

The days and the months, perhaps years, creep by and we would often long for the way things used to be. Sometimes I chose to isolate or hide behind closed doors so others couldn’t see my pain. Or I’d zoom here and there, filling life with any and everything. Pretending I was okay. Trying to not think, because thinking hurt.

Family and friends preferred the hyper-active me. Because they wanted their old friend back. But though I tried, the old me was gone. Forever.

Death brings us face-to-face with a life-changing reality: Life in this world is brief and death is final.

Things of this world fill our lives, our relationships, even our worship. Most of us have lived as though this is all there is. And in this age of want-more, get-more, we have tethered ourselves to the here-and-now.

Until someone we love dies.

Our gears were stripped and we came to a screeching halt. We were backed in a corner and forced to decide whether we really believed what we said we believed all these years. Could we look beyond the immediate to the eternal? And that’s a major cross-road for each one of us traveling this road called grief. It’s the intersection of a street called Earthly Delusions with the rough and still-under-construction detour named New Normal.

After Michelle’s death, I wrapped myself in robes of self-righteousness and parroted, “Oh, I know she’s with God and everything is fine. I’m okay. Really. Why no, I’m not angry. With God? Don’t be silly.”

And for two years I walked that I’m okay—you’re okay road ‘til one evening a family dispute raked the scab of the lie off my hypocritical words and I bled rage. A glass full of iced tea flew from my hand and splattered against the wall and I heard my voice scream, “You could have stopped this, God. But You didn’t.”

Ah. There it was. I told Him I didn’t understand and I didn’t like what He had done. But in the deathly silence that followed I had to confess to God, I was angry. Like He didn’t know.

And you know what? God didn’t send a lightning bolt to strike me dead. He didn’t turn His holy back and walk away. He didn’t condemn me.

Instead He opened His arms of love and I crawled into His lap and sobbed. And He comforted me like a loving father comforts his child after the temper tantrum subsides and the child is remorseful.

Because of His truth and my repentance, those moments produced my first glimpse of hope and joy in two years. How? The light of God’s truth shoos away the darkness, it illuminates and cleanses the place where anger and bitterness have thrived. Then the power of His Spirit moves into the open spaces and begins to teach us the lessons, up to now, we’ve refused to learn.

In the following months I learned those first lessons, and my attitude changed. I was convicted of the self-righteous things I had said and the proud ways I had acted in the past. And as I acknowledged my own needs, compassion for others filled my previously cold, indifferent heart.

God brought people into my life who were also experiencing the ravages of grief. I could sympathize with the emotions their losses perpetrated. And I was able to comfort them, because God had comforted me. I saw God work in all of our lives and my emotions were refreshed.

Through a series of unusual circumstances God brought me to GriefShare. Then He opened the door for me to lead a support group. And my new normal became a work in progress.

Did the pain go away? No. But I learned that joy and pain can co-exist in my heart. 

I believe grief’s pain is the roto-rooter God uses to increase our heart’s capacity for the well-spring of joy. Day by day, I chose to trust God to lead me forward into this river of new life. Day by day joy became the key to my endurance. And it still carries me forward, day by day.

When our happiness is rooted in people and things that perish, grief becomes our identity. But when the tap root of our heart’s joy is anchored in Jesus Christ, He carries us safely through the storms and tragedies of life. And we grow and blossom when and where He sets us down to walk along the shores of our new normal.

“The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, Take courage, fear not.  . . . But the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return, and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 35:1-4a, 9b-10 NAS).

Where are the roots of your joy planted today?

PRESCRIPTION: Go to www.griefshare.org and click on Find A Group. Fill in your zip code and select a group near you. Make plans to attend and let God work that new normal in your life too.

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Thirteen-year-old Crissy Crosby chases a dream to live up to her parents’ rodeo legacy. But the rodeo championship is two months away and problems beyond her ability to solve stack and teeter like a game of Tumbling-Towers. Meanwhile rival Jodie Lea and her father, Ed Fairgate, contrive to swipe the silver buckles from Crissy’s grasp any way they can. Prejudice, anger, and dark secrets simmer in a pot of family feuds destined to boil over in a tragic nightmare at the rodeo. Will Crissy develop courage and faith to overcome the consequences of her temper? Will her dreams of buckles and titles become reality? Or will the character-building adversities of her life quash her dreams forever?

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EXCERPT

WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE

I raced to the bus stop the next morning, threw my books on the ground, and grabbed Chun’s arm. “I’m gonna ride Mama’s horse in the rodeo.” The words tumbled off my tongue.

“Star?” Chun’s voice barely squeaked. He blinked and his eyes exploded into enormous circles.

The school bus rounded the corner. I grabbed my books off the ground and gave him a nod. “Yep.”

Chun followed me up the bus steps, leaned close, and whispered, “You are crazy.”

“Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m still gonna do it.” I headed for the back seat, plopped next to the window, and stared up at Chun.

He squeezed into the seat next to me and studied my face for a moment. “Are you not scared?”

I blinked and gulped. “Goodness, no.” The voice inside me screamed liar.

Chun shook his head. “You are crazy.”

The thud of my heart beat in my ears. “Well, maybe a little nervous.” Nervous didn’t even begin to cover this pounding. Maybe Chun was right. Color me crazy.

DiAne Gates 

Texas writer, DiAne Gates, illustrates, photographs, and writes for children and YA, as well as serious non-fiction for adults.

DiAne works as a freelance artist and has written and photographed for the East Texas Rodeo Association magazine, which gave birth to the western rodeo adventure series, released by Prism Book Group in August of 2015. ROPED–Available at Amazon.com.  The second book in this series, TWISTED, will be released by Prism Book Group, April 7, 2017.

ROPED had the honor of being selected as a finalist for the Grace Awards this year. And just this past week ROPED has also made the finals for the Christian Literary Henry Awards. Winners will be announced December 2, 2016.

Wife, mother, and Mimi, whose passion is to share those hard life lessons God allows. Lessons she hopes will leap from the page into your heart.

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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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Guest Release–Innocents Pray by Lisa Lickel

Innocents Pray by LisaLickel

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Medical ethics lies at the heart of this journey into the dark world of genetic experimentation. A hospice physician conducts test treatments for cancer and blackmails his chaplain into silence. Brother Able agrees through guilt until he encounters a grieving man who asks for prayers for his dying wife. Able must decide whether his own secrets are more important than watching a family dissolve under the pressure of untried experimentation.

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EXCERPT

Able’s heart lurched at the sound of the place even though he had made peace with that desire hours earlier. It no longer clawed; merely caressed him like an echo. He would not go to Milwaukee now. California had been his assignment, his earthly home for the last twenty-five years, compelled by the love of Christ.

“You look far away, Brother Able.”

“Oh?” Able realized he’d been staring out of the window, black with night that reflected the interior of the cabin as much as his thoughts. “I was just thinking about some of the people under our care. What changes might have occurred in my absence.”

“How large of a place is it?”

“We have room for two hundred souls, but that’s including families who come to share their loved one’s last days.”

“So many.” Davis got up and walked to the other side of the cabin, bent and stared out the window, as darkly blank as the one on Able’s right.

“Forgive me, Victor, but you seem burdened.”

Able could barely hear Davis’s reply. “My wife was ill. Not long ago.” The man straightened as far as he could, though he was too tall to stand completely upright. He turned to face Able, but kept his distance. “I had a call from her companion, who thinks she might have relapsed.” Davis gripped the arms of the seat nearest him and bent over it. “Pray with me,” he whispered. “Pray that she’ll live.”

Lisa Lickel A (3) 105 KBLisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and sometimes magazine editor. Visit http://www.LisaLickel.com.

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Guest Release Promotion–Gold Nuggets by Lynn Lovegreen

 

 

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In the shadow of Denali, she has a home, and he finds adventure. Charlotte Cooper wants to stay near her parents’ home in Alaska. But her dreams of being a writer call her away to college or work, and she has to choose her own path in life.

Henry Reeves is a wealthy New Yorker seeking a summer adventure when he travels to Kantishna near the proposed Mt. McKinley National Park. He discovers two passions, one for Charlotte, and the other for keeping Alaska wildlife from being wiped out like the buffalo.

Charlotte and Henry find an attraction they can’t deny, but can they build a new life together between the wilderness and high society?

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EXCERPT

Good health practically oozed out of his pores. It was easy to imagine him winning a footrace or wrestling a champion. The short hair under his broad-brimmed campaign hat seemed to accentuate his high cheekbones and strong jaw. And his hazel eyes dashed this way and that, taking in the scene. He was as pretty as a magpie, and just as annoying when he opened his mouth.

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Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. She taught English for 20 years before retiring to make more time for writing. Her young adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters. Her novels Golden Days and Gold Nuggets are available through Prism Book Group or your favorite book vendor.

 

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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

Character Interview from Time Trap by Danele Rotharmel

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Hello, everyone! I’m Dr. Laura Nelson from Washington D.C. I’m a professor at National Science University and third-in-command of the Temporal Counseling Program.

What exactly is the Temporal Counseling Program?

TEMCO trains time-traveling cadets to intervene in the lives of troubled individuals before they embark on a career of crime. In essence, we find people in our prison systems who could have led peaceful lives instead of violent ones if they’d been counseled as children. We send counselors back through time to help criminals make different choices. Many times, the people we counsel end up becoming influential members of society.

That sounds very exciting. Is it dangerous?

Not usually. Occasionally, we do have a case that spirals out of control. Four years ago, we almost lost a cadet to a serial killer. But most of our cases go smoothly…

You look concerned. Is anything wrong?

Not really. It’s just that we lost contact with two of our cadets today. I’m sure it’s nothing serious. Most communication problems are due to malfunctioning equipment. Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling concerned… But I really shouldn’t be discussing ongoing cases. Do you have another question for me?

 Can you tell us where were you raised and how you became involved with TEMCO?

I was raised in the mountains of Alaska. My family lived miles away from the nearest large town. I wasn’t lonely, though. I had a pack of older brothers to keep me company. As I grew up, I excelled in academics. I went to college at age sixteen. While I was working on my doctorate, I met Peter Matthews and William Ableman. I began assisting them in their attempts to capture timewaves. Later, I helped them establish TEMCO operations on the NSU campus.

 You mentioned Director Peter Matthews. Is there truth to the rumor that you’re dating him?

Where on earth did you hear that? Peter and I are just friends. Good friends. I’ve known him since college. I’ll admit that he’s very handsome, but dating him would be like dating my brother.

 Would you ever consider dating him?

Peter is a wonderful man, but there’s never been a spark of romance between us. I wouldn’t be averse to exploring a relationship with him, but I doubt the opportunity will present itself. Regardless, I think we’re getting off subject. Do you have another question about TEMCO?

What do you like most about your profession?

I like the fact that we’re changing lives. TEMCO prevents tragedies from occurring. It turns criminals into productive members of society, and the crimes they would’ve committed never take place. Recently, Vice President Hamilton praised the TEMCO program in one of his speeches. He said that TEMCO had made our society better in a thousand ways.

Why are you smiling?

I was just thinking that TEMCO has made our society better in 4,896 ways—that’s how many cases we’ve handled since the establishment of the program. I don’t think people realize just how big of an impact we’ve had on society. TEMCO is a wonderful program!

 You mentioned earlier that cases occasionally become dangerous. How big of a commitment do you have to the program? Would you be willing to fight, or even die, for it?

No one likes walking into danger, but if the life of a cadet was in jeopardy, or if the program itself was facing a threat, I would willingly step up and fight. I know that with my manicured nails and coiffured hair that I don’t look like a fighter, but I am. I won’t let anything happen to my students or to TEMCO. If that means putting myself in danger or sacrificing my life, I’m willing to do it. But hopefully, that will never happen. As I said before, most cases never encounter a hint of danger.

 But if danger arises, you’re ready to face it?

Yes, I am.

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When problems arise during a field exam, Director Peter Matthews and Dr. Laura Nelson are sent through a time portal to investigate.  While they search for their missing cadets, they encounter an enemy who is calculating and brutal—a mysterious nemesis who is holding a grudge against the TEMCO program.  As Peter and Laura race to unravel clues directing them to their kidnapped cadets, their own survival comes into question.  A deadly trap has been set, and they are forced to pit their wits against a serial killer who is intent on playing a deadly chess game through time itself.

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EXCERPT

The soft sound came again. Standing to her feet, Laura tried to calm her breathing. The furtive sounds could only mean one thing—their captor was approaching.

“Whatever happens,” she said quietly, laying a hand on Peter’s shoulder, “don’t tug against your cuffs. You can’t afford to lose more blood.”

“Keep your head and take your time,” Peter said stiffly. “Be patient. Stay out of his reach until you see an opening. If he has a gun, you can use a roundhouse kick to disarm him, but you’ll have to be quick. If he gets you down and starts kicking you, curl into a ball and protect your head and stomach.”

Laura squeezed Peter’s shoulder. She could hear the tension in his voice, and she knew he was terrified for her. She also knew that his inability to protect her was ripping him apart.

Peter spoke quickly, “If he manages to get his hands on you, use the heel of your palm and thrust it up against his nose. Don’t be afraid to be vicious. Go for his eyes, throat, and groin.”

“Don’t worry,” she said in a focused, determined voice. “I’ll fight dirty.”

The door opened.

Moving to the center of the room, Laura took a solid stance.

Danele Rotharmel

Danele Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing her to be put in quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.  Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful.

WEB CONTACTS

Danele’s Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

About Danele: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

About Danele’s Books: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/my-books/

Character Interview from Dumpster Dicing by Julie B. Cosgrove

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics? 

My name is Janie Manson and I am the widow of an Austin police detective. He often bounced his most puzzling cases off my brain to get a different perspective. Now I live in Sunset Acres retirement village where I power walk almost every morning with my best friends Ethel and Betsy Ann and host Bunco on Thursday evenings.

Family members?  

I have a son living with his family in New Jersey ad a daughter, Mel, who lives here in Alamoville with her husband. His name is Blake Johnson and he is the chief detective for their police department. I don’t mind telling you, he is overworked and I worry that it might damage their marriage.  Mel and Blake have two teenaged kids, Elli and Jaime. He never gets to their banc=d concerts or soccer games.

Did you attend college? 

I did, and that is where I met my late husband. He was moonlighting as campus security while going for his law enforcement degree. I majored in English with a minor in sociology. Don’t ask me why. Back then it was acceptable. All of us gals were really there to get our MRS. Women’s lib was not yet in full swing so most of us expected to be housewives.

Are you athletic?  

I try to stay fit, even though I am in my sixties. My ticker is fine and except for a slight blood pressure issues and being about fifteen pounds more than I’d like to be. I do power walk, as I said, which is how Betsy Ann and I discovered Edwin’s body diced up in the community’s dumpster. And after he’d only lived here three days. Quite odd, don’t you agree? But I won’t tell you why, because then you wouldn’t read Dumpster Dicing.

I also take yoga at the village and swim. I have never been a golf or tennis aficionado, even though they offer both here at Sunset Acres. Walking the golf course in the early morning is invigorating, however.

Did you ever think about a profession?  

(She leans closer to the microphone with a hushed voice.) Just between you and me I wanted to be a private investigator. Women in my day just didn’t do that sort of thing, you know. Or if they did, well they were very secretive about it.

Are you a pet person?

Oh my, yes. I have a cat, Ms. Fluffy. A spoiled rotten Persian, but she is a great companion. I am not that fond of dogs, but I tolerate them as long as they don’t bark obsessively or slobber. My late husband had a German Shepherd named Buddy. He was a police dog, of course, so when Jack died I gave him to his junior partner. Buddy stayed outdoors most of the time. He preferred his run and dog house to our house. Got antsy when he remained inside for too long, so we got along just fine.

Do you have any hobbies?

I do needlework, and of course I am an avid reader. Mostly suspense and mysteries, though I am nothing compared to Ethel with her bookshelves crammed with mystery novels. Did you know she cross-catalogs them by crime and motive? Oh, but I digress. I also love Bunco, which is why I host it in my home.

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

Well my dear, if I told you, I’d be revealing part of  the plot of Baby Bunco, the next one in the Bunco Biddies mysteries. You will just have to wait until the winter of 2017 to discover that!  (She winks and sets down her tea cup.)

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As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

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EXCERPT

The community’s trash receptacle dangled at a precarious angle.

The senior citizens sputtered in unison. “Stop. There’s a body.”

The garbage man shook his head in confusion.

Betsy Ann motioned to the back. “A body. Get it? Dead person.”

The man shut down the engine. “¿Muerto?”

“Yes. Uh, sí.” She bobbed her cropped, reddish-blonde hair.

The worker crawled down from his seat and walked to the back of the sanitation truck, which rumbled and spewed more putrid fumes. The dumpster titled down at a forty-five degree angle. Suspended in time clung numerous trash bags, pizza boxes, a broken lawn chair and…an arm?

It’s Edwin.

“Who?” Betsy Ann’s brow furrowed.

“Newman. Edwin Newman. He chewed out Mildred Fletcher because her Yorkie barked at him. Threw a coffee mug at the poor animal. Whack! Right on the nose. It left a raw, sore spot.”

“He did?”

Janie gave her a quick nod. “Mildred must apply a special salve on him three times a day. Says it cost her $22.95.”

“On Mr. Newman?”

Janie scoffed into her velour v-neck. “No, the Yorkie.”

Betsy Ann’s lips formed an “O.”

Janie pointed to the dumpster. “Mr. Newman’s in there all right.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Janie bent to Betsy Ann’s ear. “I see his head.”

Julie Cosgrove

Julie B Cosgrove is an award-winning novelist, freelance Christian devotional writer and public speaker.  When she is not writing novels, she enjoys reading those by other faith-based authors while curled on her sofa with her two purring cats and a cup of Earl Grey.  And yes, she plays Bunco.

WEB CONTACTS

My sites: www.juliebcosgrove.com

Blog: Where Did You Find God Today?

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Twitter  @JulieBCosgrove