HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, March 30, 2015

AUTHOR CRAIG C. CHARLES SHARES THE NORTH COUNTRY CONFESSIONAL



The North Country Confessional
by Craig C. Charles


Craig will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


NORTH COUNTRY CONFESSIONALS Blurb:

Family roots, teachings, and tradition permeate Darby Weeks’s existence despite a two decades old decision to walk away from a life of privilege. They have given him the courage to survive under impossible conditions, but the most challenging of them all comes from an unexpected place: his return home. As heinous crimes peppered with riddles begin to plague the North Country, Darby's reappearance back home sparks an old rivalry between two families, releasing an evil to wreck vengeance upon everything around them. Darby's proposal of a truce between them not only fails to appease the rival family’s thirst for retribution; it fuels it. And the town of Bretton Woods lies between the two when old passions ignite and set forth new determinations to win an old struggle.

Reunited with an old flame and guided by a pompous blowhard, Darby sets out on a journey to learn the truth about his family’s past and their ancient blood feud with a ruthless industrialist. Darby’s quest leads him all over New England, from the rare books library at Dartmouth College to Author’s Ridge - the final resting place of the literary greats Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson. Darby discovers family he’s never known and an insidious danger lurking in the arms of a rekindled love.



NORTH COUNTRY CONFESSIONAL Excerpt:

The talus deposits at the base of the cliffs should have forewarned me of the dangers lying just ahead, but instinctively I continued to hurtle headlong, straight into the past. The glacier-carved notch was the unofficial southern doorway into the North Country, a stalwart obstacle regulating access to invading flatlanders. I gazed at the scree and wondered if I had made the right decision to return. My thoughts wandered like the snaking road ahead of me while one of my favorite quotes from Katherine Anne Porter weighed heavily on my consciousness. Although I knew where to physically find Bretton Woods, ‘the past is never where you think you left it.’
           
My driver recounted the history of Franconia Notch as we traversed the mountain pass. A pre-dawn rain had scoured the shear walls, leaving them glistening and flowing with tears disguised as falling cataracts. They wept for me, matching the pain that gnawed inside of me. Unsure what the future held, I knew the answers would be waiting for me in the Great North Woods.
           
“Are you from the North Country?” the driver asked.
           
“I was born up here…against my will, but I haven’t been back in a long time.”
           
“Well nothing really changes up here so it will probably feel like you never left.”
           
That’s what I’m afraid of.
           
“I’ve spent my whole life living up here in God’s country and I never could think of living anywhere else,” the driver added. “You said you’re originally from Bretton Woods, did yah?”
           
“My family was from there.”
           
“Funny, I know just about every brood in Carroll County, but I never heard of the Weeks clan. Is that your father’s surname?”
           
“No, it was my mother’s maiden name. She thought it would make things easier for me as a child if I wasn’t associated with my father or his family and the expectations that went along with it.”
           
“Did it help yah?”
           
“Barely,” I said, chuckling to myself, “but I escaped as soon as I was old enough to join the Navy.”
           
“If you don’t mind me asking, what was your father’s last name?” the driver pressed on.
           
I thought about lying or maybe using a more common Québécois surname like Gagnon or Tremblay, but I wanted the driver’s pestering questions to end so I told him the truth. “Stickney,” I announced while continuing to look out the window.
           
The car swerved, nearly sideswiping the guardrail and coming dangerously close to propelling us into Echo Lake. The driver regained his composure and command of the limo. He looked at me through the rearview mirror with eyes as wide as the divide between a rich man and a beggar. He couldn’t believe I was the one and I couldn’t believe I had finally told the truth for the first time in my life.
           
And so it begins. This is my confession.



Craig C. Charles, Author

I'm a native New Englander. I grew up in the sleepy shoreline community of Madison, CT. After graduating from high school in the late 80's, I headed out West and spent a wonderful six years living in, exploring, and getting lost in the deserts of Arizona. After earning my B.S. from Arizona State University, I headed back East trying to find my path in life.

I found myself trying out MANY different careers. I learned the art of audio engineering and worked at a major recording studio in Manhattan for a while. I learned the nuances of fine wine from a wonderful South African man and sold libations in his high-end store. I sold power transmission equipment as a manufacturer's rep in the Northeast. Next I ventured into the publishing world when I signed on with Yankee Magazine working in their Community Partners Program. It was here at Yankee's headquarters in Dublin, NH that I fell in love with the art of writing and beauty of the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. I met tremendous people and embarked on my own quest to write an engaging mystery novel set in New England. 

However, I couldn't ignore the internal pull I felt to work with young people. I went back to school and earn a Masters of Education degree and embarked on a career as a special education teacher working primarily with autistic children. This has been my main profession for the past 14 years as I continued to write and work towards mastering the craft of writing. I love the creative process of writing and editing.

In short, I'm a life-long learner who continues to absorb all I can about the world around me.


Author Website: www.craigccharles.com




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Friday, March 27, 2015

MOVING VIOLATION COZY MYSTERY FROM MELANIE JACKSON IS 99 CENTS



Moving Violation
by Melanie Jackson

Readers, Melanie has graciously given us an interview. Let's open with that, but don't miss her prize at the end of the post or the chance at this Anniversary Edition of MOVING VIOLATION:

Melanie, tell us something about your early life. For instance, where did you grow up?

Childhood was spent in the Silicon Valley of California and an apple ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I have a younger brother and an older adoptive sister who came into my life when I was fifteen and could really use a friend.

The years between ten and seventeen were spent in a full body brace so there never was any question of being a jock even if my tendencies had leaned in that direction. They didn’t. From the time I was three and figured out that people actually wrote these magical, awesome things called books I knew that I wanted to be a writer. And why spend all your time in the modern world when you could visit ancient Egypt or travel to Mars?

I agree. By the way, my eldest daughter was in a body cast for a year when she was very young, so I can empathize with you and being in a brace. Very limiting. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

My reading habits are omnivorous. It is rare these days for me to read straight science fiction or westerns, but other than that, it is wide open territory. I like fiction and non-fiction. Still, if you backed me into a corner, I would probably choose cozy mysteries as a favorite genre and Krista Davis as my current favorite author.

The question of all-time favorite authors is rather trickier. At the moment I am writing about the murder of Christopher Marlowe and so he is my favorite. But the ones I come back to again and again are Mary Stewart, Elizabeth Peters, Georgette Heyer, Dorothy Sayers, William Gibson and Michael Marshall Smith.
  
So exciting to meet someone who even knows who Dorothy Sayers is, but she is one of my favorites. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Gardening. Do you recall that poem about being closer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth? It is that way for me. Gardening is a moving meditation. The spouse and I are also great animal lovers and I have managed to convince him that yoga is a good thing.

 Wonderful. Seeing and smelling flowers always cheers me. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

There are a few. How I feel about life in a time of grief is not how I feel on a day when all is well and the garden is full or sunshine and wrens. Maybe Ecclesiastes says it best:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.


Oh, that is one of my favorites, too. How long have you been writing?

The first to be published was a Mother’s Day poem when I was seven in the Beta Sigma Phi TORCH. Seeing my poem in print was dizzying and it confirmed my ambition to be a writer.


Our name in print for the first time is intoxicating. Where do you prefer to write? Do you use a PC or laptop?

PC—though I keep pen and paper on hand because one never knows when the muse will sit up and start singing. In an emergency I have can and have written on my own skin, but that is embarrassing and gets messy when it’s hot and I start sweating. And there is no such thing as too much quiet. Because many of my books are written in foreign places I need to be able to hear the characters speak in there strange accents and dialects. That is hard to do when there are noises to distract me.

Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Mostly a pantster—but mysteries require at least a vague sort of outline of events and where one should plant clues. I’ve done them without planning and have ended up having to go back and rework the story to fit in things that would have gone in more gracefully during the first pass if I had just made the space for them.

Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Often. Historical murders are especially a source of fascination (Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, Christopher Marlowe). One bit of oddness that really spoke to me was something I read about in People Magazine and then saw the same night on CNN. Have you heard about funerary chic? In Japan and Germany there was a decorating trend in the 90’s using American cemetery art. To get supplies, thieves were raiding the historic cemeteries of the deep south and east coast. The cops had managed to reclaim some of the stolen headstones and statuary, but since they said things like: John Smith, Beloved Father 1745-1771 it was no help in discovering which cemetery they had been stolen from. Nor was there any national database where they could check for missing cemetery goods so unclaimed property was piling up in warehouses. And so—presto magico! A story about tombstone rustlers was born (Writ on Water).


Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

I write every day and consider 1000 words the barest fig-leaf of a goal. Some days I know that this may not happen because part of the day will have to be given over to research or editing, or because we have company or some outside obligation but this is what I aspire too. I am waiting for the Fitbit for writers that will nag me into work when I am lollygagging in the garden.

Fitbit is a cute term. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

A strong sense of place and the feeling that they are actually with my characters and experiencing their adventures, thoughts and feeling firsthand. That is what my favorite writers have given to me and I want to share this pleasure with my fellow readers.

An excellent goal. What long-term plans do you have for your career?

I don’t think writers ever really retire, so I hope that I will be scribbling stories in my rocking chair and that there will be readers to enjoy them. I started out with one of the Big Six in NY and then moved to self-publishing. I am happy right now being a hybrid, doing both. Someday—maybe—I will try my hand at horror.

Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

After several years of writing cozy mysteries I have returned to one of my paranormal series. The Divine books follow the exploits of famous poets and writers (like Byron and Dumas) into the 21st century where they live and work thanks to the treatments of a Dr. Frankenstein-like villain. The current book is about Christopher Marlowe and is called The Last Divine.

What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Treat your writing seriously. Make time for it daily, if possible. Know that you have chosen a challenging task and don’t get discouraged when you run up against obstacles.

Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Hm… I used to model jewelry (hands) and hats for Hart’s Department Store.

My mom had beautiful hands and I always wanted mine to be that nice. Unfortunately, they aren’t. Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

Well now…. I actually don’t mind reading books Elizabethan English. In fact, I prefer it when I want to see inside the mind of the writer. Cleaned up spelling and footnotes and other annotations and modern interpretations are handy but it dilutes the magic. Let the language be grand and mysterious. Given the choice between say the Living Bible and King James Version, I will choose King James.


MOVING VIOLATION is part of a series. Tell us about your series?
Moving Violation is the first book in the Chloe Boston Cozy Mystery Series and has just been translated into Spanish. Last year we released the illustrated anniversary edition. Chloe is, hands down, the most popular of my sleuths and the most loved.

Can you give readers a blurb about MOVING VIOLATION?
                                                           
Hope Fall’s greatest detective is stuck in parking enforcement because at 98 pounds, 5 foot nothing, she will never be able to pass the department’s physical exam. But with the aid of her dog, and her writer’s group, Chloe may just be able to solve Hope Fall’s first homicide and impress the new chief of police.

How about an excerpt from MOVING VIOLATION?

“Officer Boston, may I please have a word with you.” It was of course Chief Wallace standing tall and looking unhappy. I’m sure that deep, deep, deep down the chief is a kind person who probably likes kids and animals, but I wasn’t sure that I was ever going to see this part of him.
“Why certainly, chief,” I responded, giving Blue a hidden signal to stay and shoving the file into the center drawer which I locked. I walked around the desk and followed the chief through the door to his office.  Once there I took the seat he offered me with a hand gesture and stoically awaited my dressing down.
“So, how did things go this morning at the elementary school?” he began.
“Not as well as I had hoped.”
“Oh, why don’t you tell me about it?”
“Well, we had a bit of an equipment malfunction.”
“An equipment malfunction?”
“Yes.  You see, Officer Bill’s head got stuck in the doorway to the playground.”
“Go on.”
“Officer Gordon finally got me through the door by beating on the head.”
“Yes.”
“And in the process some children became upset.”
“Some children became upset?”
I always find that it’s a bad sign when someone keeps throwing your words back in your face.  I decided to amend my last statement to reflect reality a bit more accurately.
“A lot of children became upset.”
“Yes. So I’ve heard. In fact, I just got off the phone with an irate principle that spent the afternoon chasing down and calming an entire school full of upset children. They are bringing in a counselor.”
“Oh, that’s too bad.” And didn’t add that I thought they were totally over-reacting.
“Yes, that is too bad, isn’t it?”
I decided to shut up and accept my fate. From the look on his face, the chief was trying to figure out how to make my destiny a particularly bad one. When he finally smiled, I knew that I was in trouble.
“I’ve come up with a new assignment for you.”
“Oh?”
“It involves Officer Bill and The Falls, and the need to show a positive police presence at The Falls for at least one hour every day at noon for the next two weeks.”
“But chief, I…”
“Do you really want to question my decision?” the chief asked with fire burning in his eyes.
“No, I suppose not.” Nor did I mention that the repairs to Officer Bill might take a while longer than he anticipated. Why pour fuel on the fire?
“Good. Now, aren’t you supposed to be out on patrol?”
“Yes, sir.  I’ll get to that right away, sir.”
Rising, I actually saluted. I couldn’t believe it even as I was doing it. I waited at attention for a return salute, which I never received, then gave up, made a crisp turn and left his office almost doing a goosestep. Once outside I slapped my hand to my forehead in frustration. Did he think I was mocking him? Was I mocking him? I sure didn’t feel very respectful.


Where can readers find your books?



How can readers learn more about you?

http://www.melaniejackson.com/ is a good starting place. From there readers can track me down on social media.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Everything important—passions and beliefs-- can be found in my books.

MOVING VIOLATION Blurb:


Welcome to Hope Falls, home of the world's smallest but smartest detective...

"Moving Violation" is the first book in author Melanie Jackson's bestselling Chloe Boston Cozy Mystery Series. Within it's covers we meet the diminutive sleuth Chloe Boston, a member of the Hope Falls Police Department who is stuck in parking enforcement because at 98 pounds, 5 foot nothing, she will never be able to pass the department's physical entrance exam to become an officer.

In the first installment of this light-hearted cozy mystery series Chloe investigates the death of a local industrialist. Of course, her efforts are hampered by her lack of official status within the department. But there may be another way to achieve her goal of someday becoming a detective. With the aid of her dog, Blue, and her writer's group, Chloe may just be able to solve Hope Fall's recent homicide and by so doing impress the new chief of police.

The Chloe Boston cozy mysteries are light airy reads filled with plenty of quirky characters and fast moving plot elements. And the best part is that if you become hooked on the books, as I'm sure you will, there are 21 more of them in the series for you to enjoy.

Fourth Anniversary Illustrated Edition

The fourth anniversary rerelease of this classic series opener includes illustrations by author Lisa Cach as well as bonus material originally released separately under the title the "Chloe Boston Files".

If you're looking to spend a pleasant evening snuggled up in a chair by the fire reading a good book then you need look no further -- this is the book for you.

Let's stay in touch...

---Melanie

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Another MOVING VIOLATION Excerpt:

I ride a bike.

My bike is technically a tricycle, but it is not one of those cute scooters you see senior citizens tooling around in or the kind you rode when you were a kid. No, my bicycle has a third wheel on account of the massive sidecar bolted onto it. The extra appendage was constructed by my father out of another bike and a pile of scrap metal he had lying around in the back of his shop. I think that some of it was plumbing he tore out of the guest bathroom he never finished remodeling. Which may be partly why my mom left him.

Me? My name is Chloe Boston. I’m five foot tall and weigh in at a whopping ninety-eight pounds, sopping wet with my clothes on. I’ve been told that I’m nice to look at, and based on the reaction of most men I meet off the job I suppose it’s true. Maybe because I was an ugly duckling for so many years, I have a hard time believing this.

Regardless of my diminutive size and passable appearance, I’ve always valued the power of my brain above my limited brawn or fairness to the eye. In fact, it’s my brain and not my appearance that usually gets me into trouble and is at the center of the story I’m about to tell you.

Melanie Jackson, Author


Melanie has been writing her entire life. In fact, one of her earliest fond memories is receiving an IBM Selectric typewriter for her birthday. After publishing romance novels (Scottish historical and paranormal) for New York based publisher Dorchester Publishing from 1999 to 2010, Melanie chose to begin self-publishing cozy mysteries. Since then she has released the Chloe Boston, Butterscotch Jones, Miss Henry, Wendover House, Kenneth Mayhew and Jane Blackthorn Mystery series.

Melanie Jackson is the award-winning author of more than one hundred novels and novellas published in various languages. She lives with her writer husband and her bossy cat in the Sonoma wine country. Besides gardening, she is involved with animal charities.


Smashwords (All Formats)   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/20686

This book is on sale for only $0.99, as are the first books of Melanie's most popular other series:

Moving Violation (Chloe Boston Cozy Mysteries 1)


Due North (Butterscotch Jones Cozy Mysteries 1)


Portrait of a Gossip (Miss Henry Cozy Mysteries 1)

The Secret Staircase (Wendover House Gothic Mysteries 1)


Contact information:

Email: mjjaxn@gmail.com


:



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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CODI GARY AND BAD FOR ME



All she has to do is take a chance...

Publication Date: April 6, 2015

Genre: Contemporary Romance

BAD FOR ME Blurb:

Callie Jacobsen isn't about to open her heart to just anyone. Not so very long ago, trusting someone changed her life forever—and not in a fun way. Now she's better off focusing on her career, her friends, and her dog. So when former Marine Everett Silverton takes an interest in her, Callie's more than a little wary. No matter how charming he is, men are a bad idea. In fact, she's got the scars to prove it.

But Everett isn't convinced Callie should shut everyone out—especially not him. He may be a hero to the people of Rock Canyon, but he's got his own demons, and he bets they're not that different from Callie's. Still, he knows it's going to take more than chemistry to get her to let her guard down. Everett will do whatever it takes to show her she's safe with him. All she has to do is take a chance, take a step … and take his hand.





BAD FOR ME Excerpt:

“Looks like you could use a hand.”
“Son of a bitch!” Surprised, Callie spun around from her kneeling position so fast that she fell over, landing in the softening muck with a splat. She’d been too busy cursing the shredded tire and the pouring rain to hear Everett behind her until he spoke.
Callie shook her mud-covered hands and was sure she heard a snort of laughter from Everett over the pouring rain and Ratchet’s muffled barking inside the Jeep.
“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that sneaking up on someone is rude?” Callie glared up at Everett, who was holding his hands down to her. Even though he wasn’t smiling, she’d have to be blind not to catch the amused gleam in his eyes.
Jackass.
Ignoring his offer of assistance, she climbed to her feet, but her bruised pride earned her even more mud as her jeans were soaked through. She tried to wipe off the muck, but it just smeared.
“They have, which is why I didn’t sneak; I walked. I saw you huddled over and figured I could help.”
“Thanks, but I’ve got this,” she said.
Thunder erupted over their heads, and Callie felt like the sky was laughing at her too.
“You sure? You’re shivering like crazy, and I can have this changed in under four minutes. I’ll have you know I hold the Silverton family record for fastest tire change.” Lightning lit up the sky, highlighting his cheeky grin. “And I’ve been told more than once that I’m good with my hands.”
She didn’t want to smile at his gentle teasing, but she was cold and miserable, and he was offering her a way out.
“I was just going to call triple A for a tow—”
“It will be faster if I just change it; believe me. Here.” Everett reached around her and opened the door to the Jeep. “Hop in, and I’ll grab the spare from the back.”
Callie’s face burned with embarrassment. “It’s not there.”
“What?”
“I meant to buy another one, but these suckers aren’t cheap and I just . . . I never got around to it.” She leaned her head against the door, laughing humorlessly. “Pretty stupid, huh?”
“Well, yeah, but there’s no use in me lecturing you when you already know.”
Callie glanced at him sharply. “Thanks a lot, Dad.”
“Come on; I’ll take you to Jose’s Tires, and we’ll get you a new one.”
“I told you; I can’t afford it right now—”
“I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.”
“Um, no. I don’t like being in anyone’s debt.” She squirmed under his thoughtful gaze and added, “Thank you, but I must decline.”
“Well, I must insist. You can’t just sit here on the side of the road until payday, and triple A will ding you for using one of your get-out-of-trouble calls.” Another crack of thunder shook the sky. “Look, I get it. You don’t know me from Adam, but I can get you over to Jose’s and get you a line of emergency credit. That way, you won’t owe me anything, and I don’t have to stand out in the rain. Sound fair?”
Her insides churned, and she cursed. If she’d just gotten a new spare when she’d bought her last set, she wouldn’t be sitting in the rain at the mercy of a large former marine.
Who you can’t seem to get out of your head.
And now she was about to get into a car with him and have to make small talk. What if he started flirting with ideas that she was interested in him as anything more than an acquaintance?
Why? Because you actually feel something for him, unlike every other guy since Tristan? You gotta start to move on sometime.
But moving on meant putting her trust in another man, and she wasn’t sure she could ever make that mistake again.
“Okay,” Everett said. “I really don’t want to stand out in the rain while you debate whether or not I’m some dirt bag trying to scam you, so how about I run up to Jose’s, get the tire, and come back?”
He was giving her an out and still offering to help her. If she was smart, she would take him up on the offer and climb up into the safety of her Jeep, away from him and his warm brown eyes.
He’s Fred’s son, and everyone says he’s honorable. It’s not like you’re driving to Mexico. It’s right up the road. He didn’t even have to stop—most people wouldn’t have.
“Wait,” she said when he started to turn away. Grabbing Ratchet’s leash and her purse from inside her car, she ignored the voices in her head. “We’re coming.”



Codi Gary, Author
An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy small-town contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she's not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads | Pinterest | Avon Romance


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Monday, March 23, 2015

HOUSE DIVIDED BY JENNIFER PEEL OFFERS SWEET CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE


House Divided (1)



House Divided Blurb

There is a law irrevocably decreed in the state of Alabama that you must choose a team. You're either an Auburn fan or an Alabama Fan. There is no fence sitting or waffling. It’s one or the other. However, it doesn't mean that you can’t fall in love with someone from the opposing side. They even have a name for it ... House Divided.

Ellie Eaton and Brady Jackson were just such a couple, but unfortunately they were separated by more than just their loyalty to a university. Against the odds and against the rules, Ellie and Brady dove right into the forbidden current of friendship and then love. Their sweet, innocent romance was one for the storybooks, but old rules and family prejudices ultimately tore them apart, just as they were each ready to depart to their beloved universities, Ellie to Auburn and Brady to Alabama. But years later, when near tragedy strikes, they're brought together again and given a second chance at love, this time with help from some very unlikely sources.

House Divided is a sweet romance filled with southern charm, a dash of humor and, for good measure, a pinch of lies and intrigue.


house divided

HOUSE DIVIDED Excerpt:

I was so thrilled that Brady was in my home that I didn’t notice he wasn’t acting like himself. I pulled him into our drawing room where the fireplace was lit and the twelve-foot high Christmas tree sparkled in the dimly illuminated room. Under the tree sat my wrapped present for Brady.

I retrieved the present and sat in front of the fireplace on the floor. Brady sat next to me, and before I could say a word, he pulled me to him and kissed me like he never had before. It was like a man kissing a woman, not a boy kissing a girl. I could barely breathe when he was done. His breathing was ragged too.

"Well, Merry Christmas," I said. That was present enough for me.

He smiled that country boy smile I loved so much, but it was then I noticed it didn’t touch his eyes like his smile always had.

"What’s wrong, Brady?"

He pulled on my hair, like he always had. "Ellie …"

"Brady?"

He took a deep breath and looked at me with his baby blues. "We can’t be together anymore," he quickly blurted out.

I just shook my head. Surely I had heard him wrong, but I knew I hadn’t.

I backed up, and he scooted closer. The tears welled up in my eyes and in his. "Please, Ellie, just listen to me."

"My name is Ella," I replied bitingly.

"Ok … Ella. I’m so sorry, but being with you is tearing my family apart, and with my daddy so sick … I … I have to … I have to do this for my family. Can you please understand that?"


I was speechless. I loved him. I had broken my aunt’s rules and heart for him. And he, he was the one who pursued me and who had to shout it to the world that we were together. How could he just end it like that? I didn’t understand. The tears began to flow. He tried to wipe them away, but I wouldn’t let him. I didn’t want him to touch me.

He stood up, but before he left, he looked down at me. "I love you, Miss Ellie."

How could he? I just stared up at him blankly.

"Don’t worry, Ellie, you don’t have to say it back. I love us enough for the both of us."

Praise for the Book

"House Divided was one of those books that made me want to ignore my children, my to-do list, my need for food, and pretty much anything else that would keep me from reading. Jennifer Peel has a real gift for depicting first love, heartbreak, and hope."

"A tender, soft, story that truly is a gem to read."

"Ms. Peel has created a story that stands as a tribute to true southern gentility, it's foibles and strengths. Truly a beautiful read that gives heart and meaning to true devotion. She truly knows how to weave a story that has beauty and true southern charm."


Jennifer Peel Headshot
Jennifer Peel, Author
I'm a Colorado native who currently calls Alabama home. I'm the mother of three amazing children who have grown up way too fast. I enjoy the mountains, vacations at the beach, date night with my husband, late night talks with my kiddos, touring model homes, and pink bubblegum ice cream.

I grew up on the Western Slope in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I learned to love the beauty of the outdoors, but not camping--unless staying overnight at the Marriott counts. I met my husband while living in Denver and then several years later we traded the beauty and majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains for the art and culture of Chicago, Illinois. My family and I enjoyed living near this world class city, despite the crazy cold winters, but new adventures awaited in Northern Alabama--just six hours away from Orange Beach, Alabama. These three magical places (the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Chicago, and Orange Beach) are the inspired locations used in several of my books.



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Friday, March 20, 2015

LOVELY FRIENDS DEPART FOR AUSTRALIA!

Thursday afternoon, Susan and Robert Horsnell left for their home in Australia. I feel as if I’ve lost a part of myself. Having Susan and Robert visit was wonderful!

The Horsnells are truly unique and interesting people. Susan is so generous to other authors. Her Easychair Bookshop at http://easychairbookshop.com is a major FREE promotion tool for authors and a great FREE resource for readers. Susan devotes her time to this project as a way of giving back to readers and helping fellow authors.

Robert and Susan Horsnell

She is such a generous and giving person that she promises she will never charge authors and readers for Easychair Bookshop. In addition, she does reviews, hosts authors on her blog, features authors and books on Easychair, and does many other gracious things for authors. Her blog is http://susanhorsnell.com  

Robert is a retired Commodore in the Australian Royal Navy with fascinating stories of his travels in and out of Australia. He and Susan had an attentive audience at our home—except none of us could keep from interrupting them with our own comments. Yes, we were loud.

If you remember an earlier post on March 2nd, Susan had wished for snow when she came to Texas. Wow, did she ever get her wish! Then there was rain. We did have to wait out the snow and ice, but rain did not slow Susan and Robert. They saw Fredericksburg, Lost Maples, Corpus Christi, Galveston, Houston, New Orleans, and Memphis in the rain. Susan was able to visit Graceland, which was one of her lifelong dreams. Needless to say, she is a major Elvis fan. 

Robert said the reason there are "help wanted" signs in so many places is because Susan's shopping singlehandedly stimulated the U.S. economy. 

Susan Horsnell at the Fort Worth Stockyards
March 17, 2015
On their return to Fort Worth, we had one day of sunshine for the Fort Worth Stockyards, but then rain derailed our trip to the Dallas Arboretum and other Dallas sites. We traveled to Grapevine and the Bessie Mitchell House and gardens and back through the C. R. Smith Aviation Museum.  Rain meant we were disappointed to be unable to provide stellar sites for their last couple of days, but they remained gracious.

During their stay, Hero and I hosted two dinners for Susan to meet a few local authors (and for friends to meet Susan and Robert). The first event had to be postponed from a snowy, icy Friday night until Sunday noon. We served chili, beans, corn salad, corn muffins, and peach cobbler with ice cream. Guests included Brenda Chitwood, Carra Copelin and her husband Jerry, Hebby Roman and her husband Luis, Kirsten Osbourne and her husband Keith, and Lyn Horner and her husband Ken. 
You might have heard us laughing from wherever you are. We did a lot of that.

The second event was Wednesday evening. In addition to Susan and Robert, guests were Brenda Chitwood, Geri Foster, Kathy Shaw, and Sylvia McDaniel and her husband Don. A few less guests than before, but still lots of laughter and chatter. Again, we were loud!
Sylvia McDaniel, Susan Horsnell, Kathy Shaw, Caroline Clemmons, and Geri Foster.
Brenda Chitwood left before we remembered to snap a photo.

Susan writes western historical romances as herself and erotica as Lacey Roberts. You can find her Susan Horsnell Amazon Author Page at http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Horsnell/e/B00BXR5FMM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1426801043&sr=1-2-ent Her books include The Glenmore series: REVENGE, CAUGHT, SECRETS, and DEPUTY;  BLIND ACCEPTANCE; BLIND ACHIEVEMENT; SECRET MEMORIES (contemporary set in Australia); STUCK UP GOVERNESS; FORGOTTEN SPARKS; WESTERN ANGELS; CAPTURING CHARLIE; MAIL ORDER MARSHALL; and (with Margaret Tanner) COLONIALS AND COWBOYS. In addition, versatile Susan has written two children’s books illustrated by her daughter-in-law Coralee Horsnell: CHILDREN’S ABC OF LANGUAGE and MYSTERY UNDER THE HOUSE.



Her Lacey Roberts’ Amazon Author Page is http://www.amazon.com/Lacey-Roberts/e/B00JPVL9KU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1426802751&sr=1-2-ent  Susan’s bestselling books as Lacey Roberts include DEADLY SECRETS; TAMING GEMMA; WHISPERED PLEASURES; LOVING HURTS; GUARDIAN COP; MASTERING JUSTICE; MASTER OF LAW; LOVING BETHANY; CAPTIVE; and (with K.C. Vixen) LUST and LOVES’ MASTERS. Her M/M books are MURDER HAWAIIAN STYLE and GREEK AFFAIR.

Whew, can you say “prolific writer”? Susan only began writing when she retired from nursing about five years ago. At that time, she and Robert moved to their dream home nestled on a Queensland hillside. Situated among a lovely garden carved by Robert, Susan writes daily with windows and doors open to the temperate clime. Their two sons are grown so their only “kiddies” are Jack Russell terriers along with their finches and a cockatiel. In addition, the area where they live is home to dozens of species of colorful birds. The description of their land and climate had me ready to move there until they mentioned Australia has an overabundance of poisonous snakes. Yikes!  

If you haven’t already done so, I hope you’ll give Susan Horsnell/Lacey Roberts’ books a try. I always enjoy a book more if I know the author is a truly nice person. For your shopping convenience, please check out her Easychair Bookshop.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HARVEST OF BLESSINGS -- AMISH FICTION BY CHARLOTTE HUBBARD




HARVEST OF BLESSINGS
by Charlotte Hubbard
  
HARVEST OF BLESSINGS Blurb:

The tranquil little town of Willow Ridge is facing a startling challenge. Wealthy Nora Glick Landwehr is determined to make it her home again—and put her past to rest. Cast out by her own family, Nora can’t reconcile with Old Amish ways or her strict father. But she’ll do anything to help her community embrace the future . . . and make amends to the daughter she had to give up. She certainly has no time for her reckless new neighbor Luke Hooley. They disagree about almost everything. And how can she trust him if he always seems to believe the worst about her? Somehow, though, his unexpected support and passionate heart are helping her find her own way in faith. And Nora will discover that even in the face of insidious lies and unyielding judgment, God creates unexpected chances for forgiveness—and love.



HARVEST OF BLESSINGS Excerpt:

The moving van hadn’t yet arrived, so Nora pulled back onto the county highway where she’d begun her trip down memory lane. While everyone in town was at Annie Mae and Adam’s wedding, she had the perfect chance to revisit her childhood home. To prepare herself for the ordeal she would soon face.

She pulled into the lane and parked behind the house, somewhat surprised to see the surrounding pastureland planted in tall corn that shimmered in the breeze. Knowing it wouldn’t be locked, Nora slipped into the back door. The kitchen appeared smaller and shabbier than she recalled, as though it hadn’t seen fresh paint since she’d left. How odd to stand in this hub of the house and not detect even a whiff of breakfast.

Nora moved on before she lost her nerve. She felt like an intruder—and she wanted to be long gone before anyone came home from the wedding. She peeked into the small downstairs room where she and her mother had sewn the family’s clothes on an ancient treadle machine—

Nora gaped. On a twin bed lay a motionless female form, like a corpse laid out in a casket. Is this what Hiram had meant by implying her parents were barely alive? Did she dare approach, or would this woman pop up like a zombie from an old horror movie and leer at her with hollowed eyes and a toothless grin? Nora wanted to bolt, yet she felt compelled to look this woman—surely her mother—in the face. If Mamma was so far gone, why wasn’t someone sitting with her? Or was she merely napping, too tired to attend the wedding? The way Nora had it figured, her mother was in her early seventies now—several years younger than her dat. Why did she look so far gone?

Holding her breath, Nora slipped to the bedside. The room felt stuffy in the July heat, yet a faded quilt covered her mother’s shriveled form up to her chin. A kapp concealed all but the front of her white hair, so all Nora saw was a pallid face etched with wrinkles. The eyes were closed, and again Nora felt she was observing a stranger in a casket rather than looking at her own mother. Last time she’d been here, Mamma’s face had been contorted with indignation as disgust hardened her piercing hazel eyes—

And suddenly those eyes were focused on her.

Nora froze. Not a muscle moved in her mother’s face yet Mamma’s gaze didn’t waver—until her eyes widened with recognition. Or was it disbelief, or fear?

Nora didn’t stick around to figure that out. Hurrying from the airless room and through the kitchen, Nora burst through the back door. She couldn’t gulp air fast enough as she climbed into her car and sped down the lane. She felt as though she’d stared Death in the face and Death had stared right back.

Seasons of the Heart, Book 5
Zebra (February 24, 2015)
ISBN-13: 9781420133097 •• ISBN-10: 1420133098
Click on these links to buy this book now!

• The Book Depository •• Amazon •• Barnes & Noble •
• B-A-M •• Chapters •• IndieBound •• Powell’s •• Kensington Books •
Ebook: • Kensington Books •• Kindle •• Kobo •• iBooks •


Charlotte Hubbard, Author

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz Hooley, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.


Facebook page =  Charlotte.Hubbard1

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