Friday, August 17, 2018

"To Claim Her Heart" by Jodie Wolfe ... and a GIVEAWAY!



Jodie has offered to give away a copy of the book (hard copy - US ONLY; ebook - International) . You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends August 24, 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass along your information.) 

Back cover blurb...


In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to the "Promised Land." Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancee. He hasn't counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith's only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land's not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She's willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie's determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land … or her heart.


The story behind the story...


September 16th will mark the 125th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. It was our Nation's last great race for land. 115,000 people showed up to raise for 42,000 thoughts. I can clearly picture that day. It was hot and dry. Folks gathered on nine different starting places located along the Kansas border and south of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma Territory.

All manner of conveyances could be seen — people on foot, horseback, buggies, wagons, bicycles, trains, etc. I could easily imagine the clamor and chaos as all those assembled awaited the gunshot that would signify the start of the race at noon. People were desperate. The country had undergone an economic catastrophe with the plummet of the New York Stock Exchange due to the over-investing in the railroads. Many businesses that depended upon the railroad were forced to close their doors. Quite a number of banks either closed or called in their loans. It was a difficult time.

Such is the backdrop for my new novel, To Claim Her Heart. This book is especially significant to me since it was my dear mother-in-law who introduced me to the history of the land run. It mattered to her because she had several relatives who competed in the land race and found claims. I vividly remember the summer of 1997 when she stopped off in Oklahoma to see one of those original properties. My sons and I tromped over the land and saw the homestead that was built in 1894. The first home had been a soddy that didn't last longer than a year.

The rock home I saw was partially built into the side of a hill and in a state of disrepair. A stream gurgled nearby, and within a couple of miles, the Gloss (Glass) Mountains cropped out of the landscape. It didn't take much for me to start imagining characters tromping through the area and choosing to settle there.

While Mom never lived to see this book finally published, she knew that I was working on it her last days. I'm so thankful that she shared her rich family history with me. Quite a few of the family stories she told me were included in my book.

My review...

Elsie Smith sets off in a race for land. She wants to carry out her pa’s wishes and stake out the plot he had planned to claim. However, she never intended to share the land … especially not with a preacher. Now, it will be up for the courts to decide whether the land rightfully belongs to Elsie or to Benjamin David, and that could take some time. They must find a way to coexist until the rightful owner is determined. Elsie has no desire for a relationship with Benjamin, or anyone else, but God may have a different plan.

Wolfe’s latest is based on the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. It’s a sweet romantic historical tale with a steady pace and well-developed characters and dialogue. The characters are crafted in a way that they hold the readers’ attention. Benjamin is persistent, but not pushy, and Elsie is independent and determined, making them easy to connect with and root for. The snippets from Mrs. Wigglesworth’s Etiquette Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society at the beginning of each chapter add to the enjoyment. Wolfe has a flair with words that accurately portray the challenges faced for the period, and her characters demonstrate the importance of trusting God, especially during trials and hardships. If you’re a fan of historical novels, this is one to add to your TBR pile.


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.



About Jodie...


Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and working meets. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA) and she has been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contest. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She's a contributor for Putting on the New and Stitches Thru Time blogs. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com

Where you can find Jodie online...


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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Writing Prompt Wednesday


If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's something different to try today:

Write about a gift you have given or received.

Happy writing!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday Motivation



"When asked, 'How do you write?' I invariably answer, 'One word at a time.'"
— Stephen King


Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

"Darkwater Secrets" by Robin Caroll ... and a GIVEAWAY! (JustRead Blog tour)

Darkwater Secrets blog tour

Welcome to the blog tour & giveaway for Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

darkwater secrets Title: Darkwater Secrets
Author: Robin Caroll
Publisher: Gilead Publishing  
Release Date: July 17, 2018  
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense  

A murder investigation uncovers sordid secrets and haunting mistakes

The Darkwater Inn stands tall and proud in the French Quarter, the hub of New Orleans. Bourbon Street is bustling, and General Manager Adelaide Fountaine has her hands full with a hotel at capacity. She, along with everyone else, is shocked when a body is found: a hotel guest stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Detective Beau Savoie, Adelaide’s childhood friend, is on the case. As Beau digs into the victim’s past, he unearths a shocking connection between Adelaide and the murdered guest. Beau is hurt that his friend—the woman he’s quietly loved for years—kept the truth from him. To make matters worse, the stress of the investigation has sent Adelaide right into the comforting arms of her coworker Dimitri. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . he’s keeping secrets of his own.

Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose?  

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository



MY REVIEW

Adelaide Fountaine is the general manager of Darkwater Inn. When Adelaide and Dimitri Pampalon, the hotel's owner, find a guest murdered in their room, Detective Beau Savoir, Adelaide’s childhood friend, is called in to investigate. Who got to the guest, and why was he murdered? Both Dimitri and Beau are interested in Adelaide, but, unfortunately, a secret from her past could have an impact on things.

The mystery was pleasant, and character development was solid. However, things get resolved early in the story, and it is somewhat easy to figure out, leaving the final portion (about a third) to fall a bit flat, though a few loose ends, relationship-wise, are tied up during that part. Descriptions are vivid and add to the enjoyment. I would have preferred this story a bit more had it been shorter. It is labeled as Christian fiction, but the faith element is not overwhelming. Issues such as rape, alcoholism, vigilante justice, and even a bit of voodoo are included (and this could potentially turn off some readers who expect the “average” Christian mystery/suspense novel. This book is definitely on the edgy side.). There is a minor romantic angle to the story, and the story is told mainly from those three perspectives (Adelaide, Beau, and Dimitri).

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the JustRead Blog Tour, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

robin caroll

“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” ~Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-five-plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

She serves the writing community as Executive Director/Conference Director for ACFW. Her twenty-five books have finaled/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

CONNECT WITH ROBIN: website| Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

darkwater secrets blog giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY
Enter for your chance to win:
  • print copy of Darkwater Secrets
  • your own key to the Darkwater Inn
  • a soy-based, French Quarter candle
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight August 6, 2018 and last through 11:59pm August 13, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
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Gilead Publishing is hosting a Darkwater Secrets Mystery Party on Facebook August 14th from 7-9pm CSThttps://www.facebook.com/events/220942041956118/

Co-hosts include: Colleen Coble, DiAnn Mills, Cara Putnam, Carrie Stuart Parks, and of course, Robin Caroll.

Giveaways open for 24 hours after the event, if you can't attend for all the action!


Follow along at JustRead Tours for the full schedule & more chances to win!
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Types of Adjectives


There are various types of adjectives. Here are some examples of each variety:


  • demonstrative: a, an, such, the, that, this
  • indefinite: any, every, few, much
  • numeral: one, two, second, single, etc.
  • possessive: her, his, its, my, our, their, thy, your
  • qualitative: (sensory words) bad, good, happy, sad, tall, short
  • relative and interrogative: what, which, whatever

NOTE: Demonstrative adjectives (the and a/an) are also called articles. I'll talk more about those next time.

Friday, August 3, 2018

"Dangerous Obsession" by Jessica R. Patch ... and a GIVEAWAY!



Jessica has offered to give away a copy of the book (US ONLY) . You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends August 10,2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.) Here's Jessica...


First off, thank you so much, Leslie, for having me today! I’m thrilled to be here and to be able to giveaway a signed paperback copy of Dangerous Obsession! This is the last book in my Security Specialists series, though it can be read as a standalone, and readers will be seeing some cameos from this special team of protectors in upcoming Love Inspired Suspense novels.

Dangerous Obsession is Wilder Flynn’s story. He’s the team leader who put this band of soldiers together after his sister died. You meet Wilder in Final Verdict (the book that this series hinges on) and gather bits and pieces in the subsequent books, but his full story is revealed here. The truth is, he just showed up on the pages with my hero in Final Verdict and had a certain charm about him as well as a secret…though I wasn’t sure what it was back then. Wilder isn’t much of a talker which is why it was so much fun to put him with a heroine whose sole job is to get people to speak. Enter Cosette LaCroix, a feisty Cajun woman who is the resident psychologist on the team.

By the time I got around to writing his story, I picked up the pieces he tossed out in the other books and worked on getting him to reveal to me the rest of his story. When it finally tumbled out, I was surprised to learn about some of his quirks, his hidden talents, and the big secret. As far as dealing with Cosette, I enlisted my sister, Celeste. She’s a therapist and has a lot of experience dealing with sociopathic behavior as well as traumatized individuals. I knew I wanted a stalker since it would force Wilder to open up and relive some of his painful past, and I knew I needed it to relate to someone he cared about … Cosette! But I like to give readers a fun twist, so I got on the phone one afternoon with my sister. I took a notebook outside by the pool and planted myself on a lounge chair, and we began to talk through some scenarios that would be believable and still fit the Love Inspired Suspense line—which is the heroine and hero must be in constant danger. So why would a stalker want to immediately threaten their object of affection? After discussing some ideas and what would be a natural progression, we had a solid story!

It was so much fun to plot with my sister, and it gave me a new appreciation for her job. Truly, it’s a gift to be able to see the kinds of things she does in real life and not curl up in a ball and check out. I only write about some of the darkness. Also, I should note, she never broke any confidentiality oaths while we brainstormed.

And that’s the story behind the story! I’d love for you to check out my fun facts page about Dangerous Obsession along with the Pinterest story world and grab a fun recipe too! You can find all these fun bonus features and extras on my Book Clubs Page on my website.


I reviewed this book for RT Bookreviews Magazine. Click here to read my review.



About Jessica...



Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She is the author of the Seasons of Hope series, Unleashing Love, and several Love Inspired Suspense novels including, Fatal ReunionProtective DutyConcealed Identity, Final Verdict, and the Security Specialists series. Her Storm Chaser series kicks off this holiday season with Cold Case Christmas. You can find her spending time with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.


Where you can find Jessica online...


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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Writing Prompt Wednesday


If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's something different to try today:

Write a story or poem inspired by the saying "Where there's smoke, there's fire."


Happy writing!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Motivation



"Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers."
— Ray Bradbury


Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

"The Crescent Stone" by Matt Mikalatos





My review...

Madeline and Jason agree to a year of service in Sunlit Lands in exchange for their greatest desire. In Madeline’s case, it’s to have a more normal life—one where she can breathe without issue. Jason is battling his own personal demons. They will soon learn, however, that things are not as they were led to believe.

The latest from Mikalatos is the first installment in a new YA fantasy series. It contains an interesting cast of characters. The cover will likely catch the reader’s eye, and it’s a good fit for the story. I’ve never read a story from this author before, and I was impressed with this imaginative tale, which included humor and numerous twists. Mikalatos gives the reader a few things to ponder along the way, as some relevant social issues are explored in this tale. An excerpt from the next book is included. I enjoyed the additional items, such as: a creative map, a detailed cast of characters, and various stories/songs/proverbs/poems from Sunlit Lands.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher as part of the Tyndale Blog Network, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

"The Secrets of Haversham House" by Julie Matern ... and a GIVEAWAY (SLB Tours)

The Secret of Haversham House Tour

About the Book

The Secret of Haversham House
Genre: Christian, Fiction, Historical, Regency, Romance 
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: June 12, 2018 

Francesca Haversham is eighteen years old and about to step into a glittering future - all she has to do is secure her wealth with an advantageous marriage. Then she learns the truth:her entire identity is a lie. Now Francesca faces a horrible choice. Will she give up all she knows or continue to lie about her past and risk everything, including her heart?

About the Author


MATERN Julie_author photo

Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children. She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of 'British War Children' ( for which she received a "Recommended Read" award from the League of Utah Writers) and 'British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us'. Hometown: Highland, UT


Author Interview


1. If you could go to tea with any of the characters in The Secret of Haversham House, who would you go with and why?
Lady Augusta Haversham firstly, though she might refuse the invitation as I am a social ‘nobody’! I would ask her if she is lonely and whether her pride is worth the price of exclusion from her family. I would also ask her if she has any regrets about her own behavior. Secondly, I would be very interested to talk to Antonio, Francesca’s birth father, about how he felt when he learned that he had a daughter and all the emotions it stirred up and if he was angry about the contract they made him sign. I think I might also like to go to tea with Mario and ask what he really thought of Giorgio’s revelation about a secret granddaughter and the search for her.

2. Did you travel to gather research for The Secret of Haversham House? If so, where did you go? If not, what did you do to gather your research for this story?
I travel to England frequently to visit family and I have lived in France twice and often pop over when I am in England. So my research has been conducted over a lifetime. I have been to Italy once but a daughter spent time there on a study abroad and shared her love of it. In terms of research of the language style, I read Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskill and watch lots of period dramas.

3. What did your writing process look like for The Secret of Haversham House?
This was my first book for adults and though I was careful not to write down to the middle grade readers obviously, the language for an adult regency book needed to be of a higher level. Also, the number of characters was much greater (necessitating some family group sheets and family trees to keep it all straight!) and the plot was more complex. I am not an extensive planner when I write (though many authors are). I know the end and perhaps the middle but then I let the story write itself. It can surprise me and is an exciting way to write. The characters are like this to some extent too. I write a bio of each character for reference at the beginning but they often change during the course of the novel and I have to go back and edit the bio. I also often write amidst lots of noise and activity. I am drawn into the writing so much that I am able to block the disturbance out, fortunately, which means I can be in the middle of my family while writing and not closeted away.

4. What inspired the idea for The Secret of Haversham House?
Social class. It is still alive and well in England but not to the extent it was in this period. One day I wondered what would happen to a person who discovered that they were actually from a much lower class. Would it change the way friends and family treated them? I decided it would and thus a main character with a secret past was born.

5. What did you as a writer take away from writing The Secret of Haversham House?
When I started the novel I did not know that Phillip was going to experience an emotional crisis. His reaction to Francesca’s heritage showed me that we all might have hidden prejudices that we only discover when circumstances tease them out. I also firmly believe that through Christ we can overcome all and any prejudices.

6. What is your current WIP? What can you share with us about this project?
Arranged marriage was obviously the standard during this period. Jane Austen’s writings show us that marrying for love was an often unattainable wish. It is a concept so foreign to our culture that I wanted to examine it. In order to do this, I created a character who is thrust into different households as a governess. She experiences the difficulties of arranged marriage as an observer. I plan on writing a third novel from the viewpoint of the bride of an arranged marriage.​


5 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before

In no particular order-
  1. Writing isn’t just about writing any more.
I had no idea how much the publishing industry had changed because of the internet. (Yep, I’m old!). When I first started out, before I had anything more than an idea for a plot, I took an adult education class at a local college by a visiting presenter and came back absolutely overwhelmed. I had thought I was going to a class about how to write a book and found out it was really a class about how to market the book you have written. I almost gave up as this was not really what I wanted to sign up for. I decided just to write the book and worry about the other stuff later. I entered my book into a local contest which meant joining my local writer’s chapter. This was a gift. I was with like minded strangers who were hiking the same path as me and once a month they had education classes on the whole industry. It has been invaluable. I won third place in the contest! (we had self-published and made mistakes on the formatting and done the cover ourselves - these were the main critiques) This was the validation I needed that I could write. Then I had the courage to take the plunge into the marketing side. It has been five years and I still feel like a marketing novice but I am continuing to learn new things all the time.
  1. You feel like a fraud.
It’s called the ‘Imposter Syndrome’. It’s a real thing and there are studies about it. When I grabbed my courage by the throat and attended my first writer’s meeting I felt way out of my league. I almost didn’t go back. These people were real writers (or so I thought) and I was just a pretender. After attending several meetings and meeting a few of the other members I learned that many of them had not published anything. That didn’t mean they were not writers. Jennifer A Nielsen author of ‘The False Prince’ gave the keynote at the second writer’s conference I attended. It was a game changer for me. She gave the most inspiring pep talk ever and really boosted my confidence. Then she showed us the pile of rejection letters she had received when trying to get her book published. She had felt like a fraud once!
  1. You can spend a lot of money.
If you have a ton of money then spend away. Most people don’t so I would caution you to be careful with your precious funds. I self published my first book on a shoestring. Three web-site domains that were $15 each, I incorporated by creating an LLC and the license cost approx $40. I designed the cover and we used KDP to upload the e-book and Createspace for the hard copy which are both free. So for around $100 my first book went live. My initial goal was just to publish a book. For $100 I achieved that goal and it was a great feeling. Did I make any money on it? Nope. But that was not my initial goal. Here’s some ways you can spend money to improve your chances of making money on your book:
  • Pay an editor. The price here can vary but it’s not cheap. This is valuable if you don’t have the best grammar and are worried about plot holes etc…
  • Pay a cover designer. Again the price can vary widely. If you send your finished manuscript to a publisher they may not use your cover.
  • Pay someone to design your web-site and pay to have someone maintain it.
  • Pay for FB or other social media advertising.
  • Hire an agent to sell your book to publishers.
  • Buy promotional products to give away.
  1. You’ll make lots of new friends
If you are an introvert you may not see this as a perk! Joining writer’s groups and attending writer’s conferences are great ways to meet new people who are like-minded. The conference I attend has evening social activities for those from out of town who are staying at hotels near the conference.
  1. Critiques can be harsh
I have a critique partner who is a close friend who is an author. She is kind in her critiques. My writer’s group moved closer to me so I thought I would try their critique session. There were not many in attendance that night so I was not put with people who write in my genre. They were brutal. I was a mess. I had already had my manuscript for Haversham House accepted by this point and I was still a mess at their harsh critique.


10 Things you didn’t know ( and maybe didn’t want to know) about Julie Matern

  • I was born and raised in England.
  • My name was going to be Victoria as my maternal grandfather died just before I was born and his name was Victor.
  • I attended an all girls high school from age 11. We had a very strict uniform. At the beginning of each school year the teachers checked our uniforms to make sure they were to code. They even measured the height of our heels. They couldn’t be higher than 2”. I credit that school with giving me the best of educations and helping me believe that I could become anything.
  • I love dogs. I have had 7 dogs during my life. My current dog is a Golden Retriever named Duchess.
  • I was a tap dance teacher for 7 years.
  • I love amateur photography. I cannot do it for money as I become neurotic that the pictures won’t be good enough and drive myself and my husband crazy!
  • I sew. I sew clothes, curtains, baby bedding and table runners.
  • Thrillers and detective novels are my guilty pleasure. I have subscribed to the Reader’s Digest edited books for decades. This is how I read my thrillers and detective books - edited.
  • I am the mother of twins. Double trouble and double the fun. I have six children and three grandchildren.
  • I hate running. Like really hate it. I could dance for three hours straight but I can’t run to the end of the block.

Snippet


Francesca stopped breathing as Mr. Ashbourne gently took her gloved hand in his and expertly spun her around the room, leaving her former partner spluttering at the lack of manners, in the center of the dance floor. She became dizzy at the realization that Mr. Ashbourne was actually dancing with her. After several turns, he lowered his head and whispered into her ear, his nose tickling her skin and sending a thrill up her spine, causing a delicious sensation in her midriff. “Are you unwell?” he asked. “You look faint.” She recovered herself and observed that he had a playful smile on his lips, fully aware of the power his presence had on young ladies. Not wanting to appear as inexperienced as she really was, she blurted out, “Oh no, you merely surprised me, that is all.” “Then I shall take pleasure in surprising you whenever I can as it only serves to heighten your beauty!” Francesca’s cheeks burned under his scrutiny and she bent her neck to avoid his piercing gaze and gather her confused thoughts.


Review


Eighteen-year-old Francesca Haversham is set to make her way, and name, in society, but a deathbed confession changes her life forever. If the truth comes out, it will have a major impact on Francesca, as well as her family. Will she follow her heart, even if it means giving up on her standing in society or love? Is it possible for her to find someone who will love her for who she is vs. what she has to offer?

Rich details combine to bring Mattern’s charming Regency romance to life as she takes the reader across England, France, and Italy. Multi-layered characters quickly engage the reader. A bit of mystery is involved, which is a nice addition to the tale. The reader may notice a connection between the Regency-era high society to the modern world’s social media, especially when it comes to prejudices and judging others based on their position, wealth, etc. I look forward to reading other books by this talented author.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher as part of the SLB Blog Tour. I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

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