Tag Archives: christian romance

Curtain Call Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Curtain Call

Authors: Hope Bolinger & Alyssa Roat

Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Release date: November 5, 2022

With their future in theater on the line, can a newbie actress and overwhelmed playwright put on a production to remember?

Part-time thespian Griffith Williams can’t seem to do anything right in his parents’ eyes, especially compared to his brother, a missionary in the Dominican Republic. But if he can pull off the biggest play of the year, the Christmas play, he could win a job as a full-time director, and prove to himself—and his family—that he hasn’t mistaken his calling to the arts.

Would-be actress Hadassah Wright spends her days teaching and corralling her many, many younger siblings in a large homeschool family. Her only escape seems to be through marriage to a childhood not-so-sweetheart—until a casting call for a local play provides an opportunity to act, perhaps for the last time.

When the two end up as leads in the play, the chemistry they feel isn’t just on the stage. Hadassah finds refuge from familial pressures through helping Griffith at the theater, and Griffith finds a kindred spirit in Hadassah’s longing to pursue the art she loves.

But when an envious stage manager, a director with far too many demands, and a relentless suitor threaten to derail the show, will the curtains close on any chance of romance?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Authors

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Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat are the authors of more than twenty books both independently and co-authored. They have worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as agents, editors, writers, journalists, and publicists.

When not writing, Hope is a theatre nerd who loves to hike, and Alyssa is a history geek and game enthusiast. Both are proud cat moms. You can learn more about them on social media @hopekbolinger and @alyssawrote.

More from Alyssa

When you think of calling, what comes to mind? Pastoral calling? A call to missions?

What about a call to theater?

Hope and I (Alyssa) found ourselves with a feeling of calling from a young age. We both felt the Lord leading us to writing and publishing.

I, for one, didn’t listen too well at first. Writing? But I wanted to serve God! I wanted to live a life that mattered for God’s kingdom! So instead, I studied math and science to prepare for a future in the medical field so I could work in medical missions.

The problem was, I didn’t enjoy it. Words beckoned to me. Books and writing gave me deep joy other endeavors never quite could. But if I didn’t go into traditional ministry, how was I supposed to serve God?

In Curtain Call, our characters struggle with calling. Griffith feels pressure to be a missionary like his brother. Hadassah feels obligated to be a good wife and mother like her own mom and sister. But they never feel quite as alive, quite as themselves, as when they’re on the stage. Is it possible that God might…want them there?

As you may have guessed, I eventually learned that God calls all of us to different things. He put the love of words inside of me. He guided me to writing, and doing what He has called me to do brings the greatest joy of all.

As Hadassah and Griffith in the book struggle with identifying their calling, I pray that we all may explore the unique joys and talents the Lord planted within each of us. We hope you enjoy reading Curtain Call as much as we enjoyed writing it. May His still, small voice lead you on the adventure of a lifetime.

Author Interview

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Alyssa and my (Hope’s) work schedules will look a little different, but we both work nine to five jobs. Alyssa and I will frequently talk about writing during “pockets” of time, five or ten minutes here or there between breaks in emails or tasks. Whenever people are shocked at how fast we write, we tell them we’re used to doing it in really short spurts of time.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’ll answer this question for both Alyssa and myself. Alyssa is definitely a pantser, and I am a plotter. So when we work together, it creates something really beautiful. She’s pushed me to pants more, and I’ve pushed her to plot more.

Describe your book in five words.

Adorable Christmas play romance

What are your hobbies?

I (Hope) absolutely love doing theater (hence why I loved writing Curtain Call so much), modeling, hiking, singing, and playing tennis. I tend to keep really busy.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I’m a paperback gal myself (and hardback gal, when I can find a good deal), but I absolutely love that we have so many formats! We’re meeting readers where they’re at, and I love that technology has brought us this far.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

deb’s Book Review, November 7

Inklings and notions, November 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 9

For the Love of Literature, November 10 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 12

For Him and My Family, November 13

Susan K. Beatty, Author, November 14 (Author Interview)

Blossoms and Blessings, November 15 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, November 15

The Sacred Line, November 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 17

Guild Master, November 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate their tour, Alyssa and Hope are giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card and copy of each of the three books in the series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/22670/curtain-call-celebration-tour-giveaway

His Brother’s Atonement Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: His Brother’s Atonement

Author: Amy Walsh

Genre: Contemporary romance – western

Release date: April 26, 2022

Shane Phillips had given up hope of ever meeting the nephew born to the woman his brother assaulted. After checks he sent to Aubrey Anders were returned, Shane decided the most he could ever do was pray for the Anders family. When Shane discovers that he and Aubrey work for the same graphic arts company, he must find a way to assure her he means no harm before both Wyoming branches meet for a conference.

Aubrey thinks she has worked through most of her trauma with the help of her psychologist and loving community. However, meeting Shane Phillips seems to have unleashed suppressed anxiety and insecurity. But as their paths continue to intersect, Aubrey begins to wonder if Shane could be part of God’s plan for her despite their painful connection.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Amy Walsh is a 5th-grade teacher who loves teaching children about what she loves to do herself: reading and writing. She enjoys outdoor activities, especially hiking and camping. Amy also appreciates opportunities to share her faith through singing, teaching, and writing for her church family. Amy and her husband, Patrick, have three children: Bree, Spencer, Liz, and a son-in-law, Kyle. Amy and her family love to spend time together celebrating special occasions, listening to great music, swimming and kayaking, and having occasional ping pong tournaments.

More from Amy

Thank you for helping me spread the word about my first Whispers in Wyoming novel! I am thrilled to be part of this gospel and heritage-themed series! If you haven’t read any of the novels yet, you are in for a treat! There are thirty-three novels ahead of His Brother’s Atonement – and they are all STANDALONES, so they can be read in any order!

Meet Aubrey, Shane, and Jayson

Aubrey is a young mother and graphic designer from Engelmann, Wyoming. Her terrible experience during college has caused her to keep to herself. Aubrey has no close friends and has never dated. But her parents are supportive, her son keeps her happy and busy, and she loves her job. Aubrey believes she is doing pretty well emotionally until the brother of the man who assaulted her turns up in town.

Shane suffered quite a bit when his brother was tried and imprisoned for assaulting Aubrey. People actually turned their backs on his family, and Shane’s fiancé ended their engagement. Even worse was watching how it affected his parents. After Shane’s brother died in a freak prison accident, their mother spent several days in the ICU. For years, Shane has yearned to do something to help Aubrey and her son, wanting to atone for his brother’s terrible action. But Shane gave up hope of ever meeting his nephew years ago.

Jayson is Aubrey’s six-year-old son. He is obsessed with cowboys, horses, and the wild west. Art runs in Jayson’s genes from both sides of his family, so it is not surprising that he loves drawing and helping his grandpa with woodworking. Jayson never seemed to notice that he doesn’t have a dad, but when he finds out that his father died, he is so heartbroken that Aubrey promises to let him meet his uncle. So much for her thinking that she would never have to see Shane again!

The Creation of His Brother’s Atonement

I never really know when or how a story idea will enter my head. I can drive by a house that catches my eye, and the next thing I know, I am imagining the characters that live there and writing their story in my imagination. Sometimes watching the interactions of people prompts a story. Other times my ideas come from research.

For His Brother’s Atonement, there were a bunch of factors that came into creating Aubrey and Shane’s story as far as the setting. I had just been to a writing conference where one of the speakers said that many readers still love contemporary westerns. Adding to that, I had been following the multi-author group Whispers in Wyoming and other authors who wrote westerns, and I had been enjoying their posts. Additionally, one of my teacher friends has spent portions of her summers out west and I love to hear her talk about landscapes and small communities. A camping trip to Yellowstone and other western parks has been high on my bucket list for several years.

As for the situation that Aubrey is in, how she became a single mother and how she now deals with anxiety, her story just came to me while I was brainstorming. Her and her son’s personalities developed in my mind as if they were real people. I have wondered what it must be like to have a family member who is a criminal, the conflicting emotions it must bring: to still love that person; to be ashamed for what that person has done; to yearn to find a way to help the victim. So I am sure those thoughts helped me create Shane’s struggles.

I wrote most of Aubrey and Shane’s story while I was spending nights with my grandmother in hospice. Grammy was often sleeping while lovely hymn instrumentals were playing, and I felt as though I was in a sacred space. I think some of my own inner struggles with trusting God’s sovereignty, with remembering that God does work out everything for our good, may have become part of the novel. And in the last chapter when Aubrey prays during the Thanksgiving dinner, you can see some of my own angst about life changing and my own feelings of grief being resolved.

His Brother’s Atonement is a fundraiser!

As I was researching for this novel, I read too many firsthand accounts of women who had been assaulted and the devastating effects of the violence in their lives. According to rainn.org, every 68 seconds another American is assaulted, and one out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. According to multiples sources, there are at least 30,000 rape-related pregnancies in the U.S. each year. Sexual violence is a significant problem in the U.S., and in other countries around the globe, it is even more rampant.

As I was delving into Aubrey’s thoughts and pondering how her assault had affected her and her family, I decided that I needed to do more to help women and children who have been victimized. As a first step, ten percent of the profits from the sales of His Brother’s Atonement will be donated to Heaven’s Family. To find out more about this organization, follow this link: https://www.heavensfamily.org/ministries/victims-of-sexual-violence/

Here is the recipe for Nana Ander’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pie. Bloggers can copy and paste or just share the link.

https://walshmountainpublishing.com/2022/03/26/nana-anders-chocolate-chip-oatmeal-pie/

Shane and Aubrey’s Anti-Meet-Cute

Aubrey and Shane don’t get to have a “meet-cute”, you know that sweet moment when a couple-to-be meet for the first time? In fact, when Aubrey sees Shane across Engelmann Park, she almost has a panic attack thinking that he is the man who assaulted her.

In the next book about Engelmann Wyoming, Portrait of Redemption, Cody will help Shane set up a “meet-cute” redo. I think it is so adorable that Shane wants to do that for Aubrey!

Two special characters mentioned in His Brother’s Atonement are from another of my novels, Elsie Whitmore. Elsie meets famous actor Graham Thurston for the first time when he tracks her down at her school, determined that she will audition for a movie he is producing. A somewhat spoiled star, he is annoyed that she hasn’t taken calls from his talent agency, so he is cold and judgy during their first meeting. In return, she thinks it is ridiculous for Graham to assume that she would consider giving up teaching just because he liked one of her YouTube videos. They also do not have a cute first meeting!

Here is my meet-cute! I worked part time at a Sears in a mall while I was going to college. My husband, Pat, was a loss prevention agent there. A coworker who had a crush on Pat asked me to draw a Christmas card for her to give to him. In the PS, she told Pat that I was the one that illustrated the card. That led to Pat investigating who I was, and soon he was regularly stopping by my register at Sears to make small talk. He would have silly excuses to stop by, like having me help him put a baby outfit on a stuffed animal to purchase for his nephew. It could have become very awkward if my co-worker hadn’t developed a crush on someone else in the meantime!

During the launch party for His Brother’s Atonement, some of the readers shared the stories of their first meeting with their husbands. Some were adorable, and some were so awkward. Have you shared your “meet-cutes” with your children and grandchildren? Surprisingly it is something we forget to talk about, but it is part of their heritage!

Author Interview

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I think I have some unique favorite places to write:

One of the best writing opportunities is when my husband is playing one of his role playing XBox games in bed and I am snuggling next to him. If he were watching a show, it would be too distracting, but his games are boring enough (to me) and the background noise is repetitive enough for me to stay in my own characters’ heads. This is a great writing situation because it provides no-guilt writing time of togetherness!

Another of my favorite places to write is on the trampoline in the backyard. I pull it under our giant spruces so it is partially in the shade. When I am writing, I stay on the shady side. When I need to stretch and get some sun, I roll over to the other side. When I need exercise, I put my laptop down on the chair next to the trampoline and I can run and jump and listen to some music. And the entire time I am outside, I can listen to birds singing and feel like I haven’t wasted the day indoors.

Is there a particular literary period that you’re drawn to (Regency, Victorian, Romantic, Modernism, etc.)? Why?

I adore the Victorian Era. To be honest, I am a bit drawn to strange and morbid things, and the Victorians were also drawn to the strange and morbid. Some of their beliefs and traditions are so bizarre!
I also love studying contrasts and unearthing hypocrisies. Perhaps Charles Dickens said it best, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens is an example of these extremes himself. This same Victorian author whose writing instilled a global compassion for the impoverished treated the woman he had pledged to love until death terribly. The story of the Dickens Marriage is heartbreaking.

Two of my novels so far take place in the later part of the Victorian Era, both in the 1880s: A Misplaced Beauty and A Dark Lustre.

Describe your book in five words.

God redeeming a hopeless situation

What are your hobbies?

I love so many things. Sometimes I only have time to dabble due to my work and writing schedule, but I would love to have the hours in each day extended so I could focus on these more! Some of my favorite things to do are: reading, singing, racquet sports, hiking, arts and crafts, fancy teas, antiquing/ thrifting, card games/murder mystery games. I also love to “research” via traveling adventures!

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

I have so many wonderful people in my life that inspire me and hold me to a higher standard of diligence, discernment, and compassion.

One special person who I would hope to emulate is my Grandpa Cooley. He laughed all the time and he enjoyed the simple things of life. He would laugh until he cried reading Dr. Seuss books to his grandkids, no matter how many times he had already read them. He enjoyed sitting on his porch watching birds, and he delighted in visiting with people.

Grandpa had such a giving spirit and he was so consistent in noticing the needs of others and being willing to sacrifice for others. His pockets were deep in supporting missionaries, those in the community who were struggling, and taking care of his own family. He gave of his time so willingly. Some Sundays, he did multiple rounds of picking up people who needed rides to church. Since he lived in the country, those multiple rounds might have meant a couple hours of driving before the service started.

He never said an unkind word about others and his love for others was truly unconditional even though he had very high standards for himself as far as his convictions.

Grandpa was an avid reader. He would read every book that I borrowed from the library, borrowed, or purchased no matter the genre. We read everything from Georgette Heyer to Trixie Beldon to Louis L’Amour to Frank Peretti. And I will never forget his wild laughter while reading Patrick McManus and Gilbert Morris’s Barney Buck series.

Grandpa Whitmore, from Elsie Whitmore: A Star of Oak Hills, is a character very much like my Grandpa Cooley. He even tells a story about his siblings and a box of “donuts” that my grandfather told about his own brothers.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

deb’s Book Review, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 1

A Baker’s Perspective, October 2 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, October 4 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 6 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, October 6

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Amy is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 gift card along with His Brother’s Atonement, a Rocky Mountains Shirt and a Rocky Mountains wooden bookmark!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21a6a/his-brother-s-atonement-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tethered Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Tethered

Author: Eleanor Bertin

Genre: Christian Contemporary

Release date: July, 2020

Perfectionistic librarian Jacqui Penn is ripped up by the roots when she’s dumped by her longtime boyfriend. She is drawn two thousand miles west across Canada to the last place she ever thought could offer stability—the old homestead where her father grew up.

Renovating the derelict house soon becomes a personal battle as it stubbornly resists her efforts. While Jacqui struggles to renew the home, she spends time with the family Pops bitterly resented. Her hunger for roots grows stronger as she fights to discover the long-buried reasons her father fled the house as a beleaguered teen. But will she ever find the belonging she craves?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Eleanor Bertin loves books, people, and the sweeping skies of the Canadian Prairies where she was raised.

She studied Communications in college and returned to writing after raising and home-educating a family of seven children. The author of Lifelines, Unbound, Tethered, and the memoir, Pall of Silence about her late son, Paul, she lives in central Alberta with her husband and youngest son where, much like Jacqui, they are coaxing to life a century home.

More from Eleanor

Long before Jacqui came to be, I had the title Tethered, drawn from the first book in the Ties that Bind series, Lifelines. I was taken by the rope imagery that played so well into biblical themes of God drawing people to Himself. The second book, Unbound, deals with the way cables of guilt and fear can keep us in bondage to legalism.

But ropes have positive uses too. Tethered explores how ties of family and home provide the roots and grounding we all crave. Through each of the books, we see Anna, a widow of deep trust in God. She may seem insignificant, but her influence is powerful. Through her Jacqui, who’s been raised by Anna’s bitter brother, finds the foundation on which her family history is built, and makes it her own.

One of my favourite scenes in Tethered is where Anna teaches Jacqui to bake pie. It’s a piece lifted from my own life. My mother, now 94, was renowned for her pies, which she often gave to the bereaved or struggling. Like Anna, she generously taught her techniques and tips to the women of our family who carry on the tradition.

Here’s where Mom’s tips make all the difference. We don’t freeze whole pies. Instead, we freeze pie crusts already rolled out to size, layered between parchment paper, or better still, the plastic liners from cereal packaging cut to size. (Mom was “green” long before it was fashionable.) Making a batch of skins ahead of time saves space in the freezer compared to fully assembled pies, yields a fresher result when baked, and saves so much time. Whenever you want a pie, pull out a couple of the prepared crusts. While they quickly thaw, prepare your pie filling, assemble, and bake! Even our menfolk have been able to proudly say they baked a pie themselves.

Here is the recipe we use:

Pie Skins

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

In mixer, mix dry ingredients together. Then, a half cup at a time, cut in (with wire whips):

1 lb. lard (vegetable shortening will not give the desired flakiness)

Cut into flour mixture until crumbled to the size of peas. Do not overmix!

In a 2-cup measuring cup, beat:

2 eggs until frothy

Add: 2 Tablespoons vinegar

Add enough cold water to the liquid to make 1 cup. Then add to flour/lard mixture.

Using dough hooks, mix gently just until dough forms and will hold together. Again, do not overmix.

Divide dough into six or seven balls.

On each floured piece of cereal box plastic, roll out pastry from the center outward to just over 1/8-inch thickness. Keep flouring the rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Cut the crust to size of pie plate with ½ inch extra all around. Re-roll the scraps into the next ball of dough.

Freeze skins in a plastic pie keeper or even in a zippered plastic bag on a flat surface.

Bake pie on bottom rack of oven, 450F for 15 minutes, then 375F until golden brown (another 10-15 minutes). No pale, anemic pies for us!

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

My older sister praised a brief story I wrote when I was eight. She was impressed with the line, “Mother’s voice trailed away.” Rank plagiarism! However, throughout school, I did well in English and various teachers encouraged me to continue writing though I was set on other careers like pediatrician, real estate tycoon, and fashion designer. Ha! By high school graduation, reality struck, and I recognized my natural bent – which definitely was not medicine! I went on to study Communications in college.

After spending a year and a half as a reporter for a farm weekly newspaper, I settled into a long, rewarding vocation as a wife, and homeschooling mother of seven children. But the nest has a way of emptying, despite filling it so full.  At fifty, I wondered what to do with my newfound time and freedom. Out of the bucket list I compiled, “write a book” seemed the least expensive and most possible. My first novel took four years to write and another two to publish, but the best advice I ever received was to keep at it faithfully, even if only a few words a day, and walk through every door of opportunity that presents itself.

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

My first novel, Lifelines, centers on a character named Anna Fawcett, a 60-something widow with an adult son, Jesse, who has Down syndrome. Patterned after my own 94-year-old mom, she reappears in each of the Ties That Bind novels (Unbound, and Tethered). Like Mom, Anna is a selfless mentor, a devoted mother, sister, and friend, and a sort of Christ-figure in her sacrificial, faithful love of her Lord. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. My mother would laugh to know I’ve written a Christmas anthology short story in which she receives a marriage proposal and accepts.

And of course, her son Jesse is special to me, too. My youngest son, Timothy, 25, has Down syndrome and still lives with my husband and me. Only after I had written the trilogy did it occur to me that each of the novels features an individual with special needs: Jesse in Lifelines, Carol, a severely brain-injured woman in Unbound, and Lewis, a teenage boy with autism in Tethered. Having a disabled son myself has opened my eyes to a whole world of interesting and God-beloved people who deserve notice, both them and the caregivers who devote themselves to them.

Do you ever hide things in your stories for readers to find?

What an interesting question! I haven’t consciously hidden things in my stories, but a funny thing has happened with readers’ responses to my books. I’ve been asked for sequels about some of the most minor characters – even a dog! I suspect this is because in real life, I love people and in writing, I abhor flat characters. After all, even the hair stylist, caterer, or banker has an essential inner life uniquely their own. So, when I mention them in my books, I give enough quirky detail to reflect their value and humanity. Which backfires on me as a writer, because readers seem to want more of what I had no intention of giving. Sigh.

What are your hobbies?

If a hobby is something that’s enjoyable and costs, rather than earns us money, I could certainly say writing. But although I find it so satisfying, it’s also hard work at times. The things that most often distract me from writing are home décor (you’ll find references to it sprinkled throughout my books), flower gardening, and sewing (especially quilts). If the Lord gives me time, I also have a hankering to try oil painting, learning Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, and taking up the cello again. There should probably be something on this list pertaining to physical fitness, but you asked about hobbies, not personal tortures.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

I have always felt subpar in Christian circles because I could never pinpoint a favourite Bible verse or story. The reason must be that whatever book or passage I’m studying or memorizing at any given time is my favourite. Scripture is so rich and deep that it wows me no matter where I dig into it. So currently, my “favourite” is the book of Romans which is taking me forevah to memorize. I began in mid-April, 2021, and I’m still not quite half through, yet every day it speaks to my heart.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 21

deb’s Book Review, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

lakesidelivingsite, September 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Guild Master, October 1 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, October 1

For Him and My Family, October 2

For the Love of Literature, October 3 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, October 3

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Eleanor is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21aad/tethered-celebration-tour-giveaway

Fighting and Flirting with my Cowboy Enemy Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Fighting and Flirting with My Cowboy Enemy

Author: Julia Keanini

Genre: Clean and Wholesome Romance

Release date: July 26, 2022

Jackson Ashford seems to have it all. Gorgeous looks, fulfilling job, loving relationship with his family . . . and he looks amazing in a cowboy hat. He may be a bit of a grump at times, but that doesn’t deter the women of Blue Falls from vying for his attention. So when Ruby Ellison arrives at his doorstep and hates Jackson on sight, he’s confused, to say the least.

Ruby Ellison never intended to come to the tiny town of Blue Falls, Idaho, but when her best friend’s search for her birth father takes her there, Ruby follows. She comes because she’d never let Madi down, but she stays because she quickly comes to love the small town. It’s the best place she’s ever lived . . . with one exception. Jackson Ashford. But Ruby figures she’ll just avoid him. Blue Falls is a small town but surely it’s big enough for two people to keep their distance.

But when Jackson and Ruby are both asked to coach an eight-year-old girls’ basketball team, Ruby realizes there will be no avoiding the man. She’ll just have to hate him up close rather than from afar. But as Ruby gets to know him she realizes that maybe the man she thought she knew isn’t really who Jackson is at all.

Join Ruby and Jackson as they fight and flirt their way to a happily ever after.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Julia Keanini is just a city girl living in a country world (and secretly loving it). She loves the mountains and would adore the beach, if it weren’t for all the sand and salt (wait, that is the beach?). A good book, a great song, or a huge piece of chocolate can lift her mood, but her true happiness is found in her little fam. She writes about girls and women who deal with what life throws at them and always about love, because she LOVES love.

More from Julia

I almost got run over by a cow when I was thirteen. I homeschooled during my middle school years and my parents decided I needed to do more with my free-time. So they sent me to work at a friend’s ranch. I was a typical very self-conscious teen and I had been near horses and cows probably at most five times in my life. You could see that this maybe wasn’t the best combination but my parents were sure and they promised me a juice at the end of every shift so I was game.

I started by brushing horses tails and braiding them. I was the oldest of five girls so this was totally in my wheelhouse. I also shoveled a whole bunch of manure. This wasn’t my favorite part of the job. But I quickly fell in love with horses. They were majestic if not a little stinky, but I loved them all the same.

Then came the big day. The cows needed to be branded and it was my job (who decided this I will never know) to get the cows into the chute where they would be branded. Granted I did this with four other grown men, the people who should have been doing the job, but I was out there as well. In the middle of this arena. Trying to not get killed. I managed for about five cows and then there was a mean one. I knew from the moment I saw her that she wanted me out of there. The moment she was let free she beelined it in my direction, letting me know that I didn’t stand a chance. Somewhere in the background I heard people yelling my name, telling me to move. But I froze. Did nothing. Thankfully one of those grown men saved me and I lived to tell the tale.

But even after all of that, I loved ranch life. I knew I would one day write a story about it. I saved it in my heart for a long time, this is book number forty-seven for me, but it finally came to fruition. A series about seven brothers (even though I grew up with four sisters) in the most beautiful land in Northern Idaho.

Welcome to Blue Falls Ranch.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I think I always wanted to be a writer. Books were some of my very first best friends. That sounds kind of sad, but I promise it wasn’t. I grew up as the oldest of six kids and found my escape from the loving but chaotic atmosphere in books. I could do chores on the prairie with Laura, I often imagined I was Anne’s bosom friend, and I was always an honorary baby-sitter. That love of reading grew into a natural love of writing. Getting to discover my very own stories has been one of my greatest life adventures.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have to write on my couch. I know most authors need a desk or an office or even a corner at a coffee shop but I adore writing on my couch. It started because as a mom it was easier to write in the midst of everything than to escape because my boys always found me and would decide to play wherever I was. If I started in the living room with them and their toys it was actually the easiest way to get it all done. So even now that I do this as a full-time job and I could go into a writing cave, I choose not to.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I’m really lucky with my schedule now. When I started it was whenever I could find a free minute, typically when my boys were asleep, but now I get to choose exactly how I want things. So I write four days a week. I always work on one project at a time. I typically write about seven-thousand words a day for three or four weeks and then I edit for another one or two (depending on the length of book). I usually start writing at about nine am and try to get my words in by one.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I used to be a pantser and I miss it some days. I have to outline now because it helps me to stay on track. I’d never make my word count without an outline. Although more often than not my characters take over the book so even though I always have an outline these days, it will often be more of a guide than an actual template for what is going to happen.

Do you ever hide things in your stories for readers to find?

Yes! This is so fun to do. I like to do crossover places or characters. I’ll use a hotel that is central to one series in another. In Fighting and Flirting with my Cowboy Enemy I’m back in a small-town that I created for another series so it’s been fun to write characters that I haven’t been in touch with for a while. I actually have a pen as well and I’m going to start crossing a few things over between names so that readers of both names will get some exciting surprises.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 6

Inklings and notions, September 7

For Him and My Family, September 8

A Baker’s Perspective, September 9 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 13

For the Love of Literature, September 14 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 15

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 16 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, September 16

Simple Harvest Reads, September 17 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Pause for Tales, September 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Julia is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2136a/fighting-and-flirting-with-my-cowboy-enemy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Vanished Without a Trace Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Vanished Without a Trace

Author: Sarah Hamaker

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: June 28, 2022

A missing person case. A new clue. And a fight for survival.

After nine years searching for his missing sister, attorney Henderson Parker uncovers a clue that leads him to Twin Oaks, Virginia—and podcaster Elle Updike investigating the case. Partnering with the journalist is the last thing Henderson wants, until mysterious thugs make multiple attacks on both their lives. Now they’ll have to trust each other…before the suspected kidnappers make them disappear for good.

Click HERE to get you copy!

About the Author

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Sarah Hamaker loves writing books “where the hero and heroine fall in love while running for their lives.” She’s written romantic suspense novels and nonfiction books, as well as stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. As a writers coach, her heart is encouraging writers. She’s a member of ACFW; ACFW Virginia Chapter; and Faith, Hope and Love, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four teenagers, a preschool foster child and three cats. Visit her online at sarahhamakerfiction.com.

More from Sarah

As a podcaster myself, I’ve listened to many true crime podcasts, such as “Up and Vanished” and “Accused,” so when I was thinking about the plot for Vanished Without a Trace, I decided to have my heroine be a true crime podcaster investigating cold missing persons cases. I also am fascinated by unsolved mysteries, probably because I love history, and have a strong sense of justice—I want those who commit crimes to be caught. Of course, as a Christian, I do rest in the assurance of God as the ultimate and only truly righteous Judge, but I do find myself rooting for cold cases to be solved and criminals brought to justice. Thus the book combines my two of my interests—cold cases and true crime.

Personally, I can’t imagine anything more difficult than to have a loved one go missing and never be found or heard from again. The uncertainty of their fate must weigh very heavily on the family members left behind. I wanted to capture some of that with Henderson’s strong desire to find his missing sister, Helena, and reunite her with their mother. He’s seen how much Helena’s absence has taken a toll on their mother’s health and mental well-being, and when he has a chance to chase down the first real lead in years, he jumps at it.

Elle’s motives are no less personal than Henderson’s—her own heart aches for these grieving families. Having distant parents, she wants to help families heal by discovering what happened to a loved one if possible. But Henderson doesn’t trust her motives and the two clash more often than not over her podcast.

I hope you enjoy seeing how Elle and Henderson learn to work together to find Helena…and perhaps, their own happy ending.

My Review

There’s something about disappearances that is both intriguing and chill-inducing. As a mystery reader, I tend to gravitate toward those which involve disappearances because they are often more challenging and can offer any number of outcomes. That, combined with the fact that I had not previously read anything by Sarah Hamaker, compelled me to read Vanished Without a Trace. I went into the book blindly, solely viewing the title and cover and only reading the summary on the back cover after finishing the story, and I would personally recommend this to future readers, especially those who don’t wish to know any plot points ahead of time. The novel is enjoyable either way, and this is a personal preference, so it does not affect my rating; it’s simply a suggestion based on my experience.

A diverse cast of characters and a savvy use of modern technology make Vanished Without a Trace an interesting romantic suspense tale, complete with a bit of humor peppered in to lighten the tension. As is characteristic of the Love-Inspired Suspense series, there is relentless action rivaling that of a TV movie, with the same high stakes, to boot. The nearly decade-old vanishing of Henderson Parker’s sister, Helena, has set him on a quest to find her, following any and every lead until he winds up in Twin Oaks, Virginia. Podcaster and journalist Elle Updike is similarly pursuing the cold case for her show, and when dangerous threats are manifested, Henderson realizes he has to join forces with Elle, despite his dislike of journalists. Elle brings important investigative techniques she has learned from her prior experiences and from online research, underscoring the ubiquity of such resources. I appreciated her character and how she contributed to the story, but it didn’t seem to me that she or Henderson grew much as characters throughout the course of the novel, as their approaches did not change, which I admittedly found frustrating at times. Henderson’s stubbornness was, however, counterbalanced by loyalty and compassion.

Vanished Without a Trace also focuses on relationships and the impact of trauma. Several of the characters have had poor relationship experiences in the past, and Hamaker demonstrates how the lingering effects impact the present. This is particularly notable with Henderson, as “His guilt over failing to find Helena had eaten away at his ability to have a relationship with anyone, leaving him with a hollow hole where his heart had been.” I do wish that the faith element would have been more prominent; the faith theme naturally coalesces with the plot, and I would love to see it further emphasized. The challenges which the characters encounter are relevant to those facing society today, and the ultimate solution is the same as well: trusting the Lord with our concerns and seeking Him above all else.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 25

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, July 25

Bizwings Blog, July 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 27

Through the Fire Blogs, July 27

Betti Mace, July 28

For the Love of Literature, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

Pause for Tales, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 30

Inklings and notions, July 31

Genesis 5020, August 1

Bigreadersite, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 2

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 3

Livin’ Lit, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 5

Paula’s Persuasion, August 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 6

Blogging With Carol, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away the grand prize package of a Vanished Without a Trace branded tote bag, Vanished Without a Trace pin, a print copy of the book, plus a $75 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1ffe1/vanished-without-a-trace-celebration-tour-giveaway

Finding Harmony Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Finding Harmony

Authors: Alyssa Roat and Hope Bolinger

Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Release date: July 5, 2022

Can two people-pleasing musicians win the grand prize, or will they be forced to give up music for good?

Newly hired worship leader Elijah Peterson can’t seem to catch a break with his church’s congregation. With conflicting demands from congregants, he struggles to find a way to make everyone happy, especially Don, a man who’s rumored to have driven out the last worship leader.

Music teacher Olivia “Liv” Wilson says yes to everything—piano lessons, church volunteering, extra shifts—all while struggling to help pay her dad’s medical bills. As jobs fall through, she’s hit with even worse news—with bills piling up, they could lose her childhood home.

When their meddling roommates force Elijah and Liv into a cooking class together, the two come up with a plan. They’ll enter an indie songwriting competition—with a cash prize that could be enough to save Liv’s house. And maybe if Elijah can win, his musical family and congregation will finally take him seriously.

But winning the competition might mean losing themselves in the process. Can they find a way to strike harmony between writing songs they love and songs the audience wants to hear?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Authors

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Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat are the authors of nearly twenty books both independently and co-authored. They have worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as agents, editors, writers, journalists, and publicists. When not writing, Hope is a theater nerd who loves to hike, and Alyssa is a history nerd and game enthusiast. Both are proud cat moms. You can learn more about them on social media @hopekbolinger and @alyssawrote.

More from Alyssa

In college, Hope and I (Alyssa) didn’t know the word “no.” After all, our professors, advisors, and chapel speakers all told us, “Say yes to every opportunity. Volunteer for everything. If you don’t do it now, it will be too late. Your career will fail. You won’t please God. Etc. Etc.”

So we followed that advice, and we well-nigh burned ourselves out. Faced with a litany of health issues caused by overworking, we realized after college that maybe we had taken things too far. So we began to work on unlearning this mindset.

To this day, we have to call each other and ask, “Is it okay if I turn down this unpaid opportunity? If I don’t have time for this volunteer work? Will people be mad at me?”

We channeled a lot of this people-pleasing into Finding Harmony. As we recovered from overworking ourselves, our characters Elijah and Liv learned that they didn’t need to do everything. As we fell back in love with writing for the sake of the art, not for the A+, our characters discovered how to remain true to their music.

We hope you enjoy reading Finding Harmony as much as we enjoyed writing it—and we encourage you to follow God’s call on your life, regardless of expectations.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I started dictating stories to my parents long before I knew how to write. By kindergarten, I started filling notebooks with my scrawling, near-illegible writing. I don’t know when exactly I decided I wanted to be a writer, but I chose publishing as a career in late high school when I decided on Taylor University’s professional writing degree for college.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I have a full-time job in marketing, and I also manage a speculative fiction imprint, so writing gets squeezed in after work, during lunch breaks, on the weekends…there isn’t much of a schedule, just frantic typing whenever I can.

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

In Finding Harmony, I relate most to our female lead, Liv. Liv has a hard time saying no and tries to do everything for everyone, but she’s running on fumes. She just doesn’t want to let anyone down. As she and Elijah work to overcome their people-pleasing tendencies, I think Hope and I saw ourselves in the story, as we learn to have realistic expectations of ourselves and learn how to set boundaries in life.

Do you ever hide things in your stories for readers to find?

All the time! We like to plant little Easter egg references to our previous books in new books, whether mentioning characters in passing or making a joke for readers of previous titles to notice. Sometimes we unobtrusively stick our friends in as background characters and wait for the text message of, “Wait, is this character me??” And sometimes we mention the names of books we like within the book, for example the romances our librarian character enjoys.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read a lot and write a lot! Nothing will prepare you better for writing than reading lots of books in your genre, especially books that have released within the last five years. And besides, it’s a lot of fun!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 20

Spoken from the Heart, July 21 (Author Interview)

The Sacred Line, July 21

Texas Book-aholic, July 22

Inklings and notions, July 23

For Him and My Family, July 24

For the Love of Literature, July 25 (Author Interview)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 25

deb’s Book Review, July 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 28

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 30

Splashes of Joy, July 31 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 1

Blogging With Carol, August 2

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Hope and Alyssa are giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and Picture Imperfect and Finding Harmony, in preferred format (paperback U.S. only)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1f7f6/finding-harmony-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Putting Green Whisperer Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Putting Green Whisperer

Author: Zoe McCarthy

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: 2018

Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer when Shoo sustains a hand injury—and then she falls for him. Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-pumping buddy until the chemistry is undeniable. What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Zoe M. McCarthy, a full-time writer and speaker, was pegged an expressive analytic in a personality test. Isn’t that an oxymoron? But it’s true. Zoe couldn’t survive without expressing her creative imaginings. Yet this retired actuary and introvert receives her energy from being alone in her home office overlooking the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains.

More from Zoe

The Putting Green Whisperer came about when my sister and I sat under a shade tree near a green at the PGA Senior’s Tour golf tournament. As we watched senior pro golfers and their caddies come through to putt, two young caddies standing just of the green with their backs toward us caught my eye. They talked quietly while their pros prepared to putt. He was tall and she was petite with her long blonde pony tailing protruding from the back of her pink ball cap. I day-dreamed how a romance might begin between the two caddies. I turned to my sister and pointed at the couple. “My next book will be about those two caddies.” My reviews of the book tell me readers who don’t care for golf enjoyed the romance and readers that love golf said I got the golf right.

Author Interview

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

A personality test I took through my company pegged me as an expressive analytic. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it fits me. I couldn’t survive without expressing my thoughts and creative imaginings. Yet, I’m an analytical and introverted retired, actuary* who receives my energy from being alone in my home office, spewing words into my laptop. The good news in being an expressive and analytical introvert is I can easily write both types of characters.

*Actuaries perform all the mathematical analysis for insurance companies, pricing products and estimating reserves to pay claims.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I start my day reading the Bible and taking my prayer walk in which I pray for others on my lists. Then I work on developing the lesson for the weekly community women’s Bible study I teach. After that, it’s a scramble among many writing-related commitments—developing and presenting writing workshops online and in person, writing and posting to my newsletter and blog, promoting through social media, and snatching time to write. Then in the evenings while my husband and I watch a show, I knit or crochet shawls for the prayer shawl ministry. After we’ve gone to bed, I prop my laptop on my knees and quietly write from ten to midnight with no distractions. I choose not to work on Sundays. My husband is my business partner and helps me manage my schedule. He performs promotions, creates memes, designs book covers, and formats my indie books on Amazon. But my best writing schedules have occurred when I’ve taken sabbaticals. I enjoyed a full-month, summer sabbatical at our lake cabin. I worked nonstop on one book in the mornings and on another book in the afternoons.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a hybrid. I find doing high level plotting before I start writing, such as sketching out the stages of the Hero’s Journey, has advantages. I have a good idea what research is needed and can get started on it. I can brainstorm ideas for foreshadowing events that I already know will happen later in the story. Before I launch into my story, I understand much about my protagonists and some secondary characters—their personalities, temperaments, outlooks, and quirks. I don’t waste time plotting the nitty-gritty details that I might not use when I enter panster mode. In this mode, I give myself the freedom to write the scenes as ideas come to mind, but I stay within the high-level stages I’ve plotted in the Hero’s Journey.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

The verse that has spoken to me for a long time is Isaiah 53:6. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (NIV) This Old Testament prophecy speaks several truths to me. I’m like a sheep who needs a shepherd to lead me onto the right and safe path. Like what happens with sheep, I’ve been lost, and Jesus, through His Spirit, literally came and got me. I don’t have to worry about being a sacrificial lamb, because Jesus took on that role as well as a shepherd role. He willingly bore on Himself my iniquities. Yay!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

When I was an aspiring writer, I tackled the platform-building suggestion to write a blog. My only passion to post about was my love for learning how to write and how to perform all the peripheral tasks publishers ask of authors. Mostly, I researched each writing, marketing, or blogging challenge I was currently undergoing. I passed along what I’d learned in my blog posts. After I’d written over three hundred posts, an editor and an agent, separately, suggested I use my blog posts to create a book on writing. I wanted my book to help writers who were starting a manuscript, already had a not-yet-published manuscript, or had self-published one that was receiving poor reviews. So, I included all I’d researched and used in improving my own writing into a comprehensive guide for aspiring writers. I believe in that book. So, new authors might find it helpful to search my blog posts for the problem they’re experiencing or to read Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days. Other books I recommend are: Hooked by Les Edgerton, Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 10

Texas Book-aholic, June 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 12 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 13

For Him and My Family, June 14

A Baker’s Perspective, June 15 (Author Interview)

Miriam Jacob, June 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 16

deb’s Book Review, June 17

For the Love of Literature, June 18 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 20

Blossoms and Blessings, June 21 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 22

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, June 23 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Zoe is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and one print copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1eb78/the-putting-green-whisperer-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Promise Engraved Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: A Promise Engraved

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Romance

Release date: May, 2022

Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?

Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

The Story of Susannah Dickinson, Alamo Survivor

When asked how many died at the Alamo, many would answer that everyone did. While it’s true that all fighting on the side of Texas independence perished, there were survivors, all women and children and one slave. The only white woman (the rest were of Mexican descent) was Susannah Dickinson, along with her daughter Angelina. Susannah had followed her husband, Almaron, to Mexican Texas in 1831. They had married two years before when Susannah was just fifteen. She never learned to read or write.

She and the other women hid in the sacristy of the church, one of the surviving buildings in the mission and what we now think of as the Alamo. Her husband died, but Mexican General Santa Anna found them and spared their lives, sending them to Sam Houston with $2 each and a blanket.

She married again the following year but divorced him almost immediately on the grounds of cruelty. She married a third time the following year and was married for five years until her husband died of alcoholism. A fourth marriage occurred in 1847, but she divorced again in 1857, this time allegedly because she was having an affair. That same year, she married for a fifth time. This marriage lasted until her death in 1883.

The ring in A Promise Engraved is based on a cat’s eye ring supposedly given to Angelina by William Travis before the battle. Angelina was Susannah’s only child. She married and had three children, but that marriage ended in divorce. She gave the ring to a man she’d become involved with in New Orleans. She married again and had one more child but died in 1869 from a uterine hemorrhage.

Today there are many descendants of Susannah Dickinson. If you visit the Susannah Dickinson house in Austin, you’ll see a quilt that is signed by many of her living descendants.

My Review

Being largely unfamiliar with the Texas Revolution, I found this eighth standalone book in Barbour’s historic Doors to the Past series particularly intriguing. Liz Tolsma crafts A Promise Engraved, her first split-time novel, seamlessly, intertwining historic and contemporary events to demonstrate the truths of Scripture. The genealogical journey forming part of the present-day storyline is relevant to so many investigating their own ancestry amidst the range of tools available, and the issue of illegal immigration and refugees, especially as it applies to young children caught in the middle, is straight from the headlines. The historical segment of the narrative proves to be just as pertinent, dealing with issues such as assault, murder, and trauma. Exploring the echoes of history informs the present and guides the future. As Brandon tells Kayleigh, “There’s always an important story to learn at the end. Along the way, we might discover something about ourselves.

Beginning in 1835 but taking place mostly in 1836, the story of 18-year-old Josie Wilkins and Protestant pastor John Gilbert in San Antonio plays out during the determining battles of the Texas Revolution, and Tolsma offers insight into the motivations and strategies of those involved. Josie has a very unique position and a tragic past that isolates her in many ways, but John reminds her that “true joy is only found in the Lord” and urges her to “Give everything over to God. All your sins, all your hurts, all your trials and pains. He will heal and restore and bring you everlasting peace that surpasses all understanding. Place your trust and faith in Him. He will carry you through.” What might seem like trite platitudes becomes demonstrably true despite the horrors of war and loss, creating a legacy that connects to refugee coordinator Kayleigh Hewland nearly two centuries later. Kayleigh, her own past marred by tragedy, happens upon a special ring in a flea market and teams up with appraiser Brandon Mullins to discover how its history might shed light upon her own. From one survivor’s story to another, A Promise Engraved attests that, as Brandon assures Kayleigh, “With faith, you can endure anything, because there’s the hope that God is working out everything, even when you can’t see it.” And even when the good that God is working develops over centuries!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 28

Bigreadersite, May 28

The Write Escape, May 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 29

Christina’s Corner, May 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 29

lakesidelivingsite, May 30

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

Inklings and notions, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Splashes of Joy, May 31

Betti Mace, June 1

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 1

Genesis 5020, June 2

Daysong Reflections, June 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 2

Remembrancy, June 3

Books, Books, and More Books, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 3

Older & Smarter?, June 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

deb’s Book Review, June 5

Mary Hake, June 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 6

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6

Connie’s History Classroom, June 7

Life of Literature, June 7

Back Porch Reads , June 7

Bizwings Blog, June 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 8

For the Love of Literature, June 8

Through the Fire blogs, June 9

Pause for Tales, June 9

Labor Not in Vain, June 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, June 10

Melissa’s Bookshelf, June 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1e37a/a-promise-engraved-celebration-tour-giveaway

High-Wire Heartbreak Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: High-Wire Heartbreak

Author: Anna Schmidt

Genre: Christian/Romance/History

Release date: January 1, 2022

In 1936–A party at the Ringling mansion Ca d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, leads to a robbery–and possibly death.

A successful historical mystery writer, Chloe Whitfield comes to Ca’ d’Zan to research her next novel. Chloe’s fascination with the circus is rooted in family stories of her great-grandmother Lucinda Conroy, who reportedly was a trapeze artist of some renown. She’s heard hints of scandal—and perhaps larceny, but no details.

Chloe’s grandmother—rumored to be Lucinda’s only offspring—was raised in an orphanage and never knew her mother. Intrigued as she is, Chloe has no intent of writing about Lucinda until she sees a poster featuring Lucinda as the star performer for a 70th birthday gala for John Ringling in May of 1936. From there the trail goes cold.

Who was Lucinda and what happened to her?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Anna Schmidt is the author of over twenty works of fiction. Among her many honors, Anna is the recipient of Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the RITA award for romantic fiction. She enjoys gardening and collecting seashells at her winter home in Florida.

More from Anna

It’s hard to split time living between Wisconsin and Sarasota Florida and NOT get caught up in the circus world! The Ringlings are icons in Sarasota where a LOT of things are named for them! But the five circus brothers got their start right here in Wisconsin. So, when the opportunity to create a story for DOORS TO THE PAST came my way, it was pretty much a no-brainer that I would go with John and Mable Ringling’s incredible home, Ca ‘d Zan as the setting. Then somehow, I stumbled on this picture:

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and I knew she was my character of Lucinda, the trapeze artist whose story would drive my novel. I hope you fall in love with her—and Chloe—as I did, and most of all I hope you’ll be in touch to let me know what you thought at http://booksbyanna.com.

HAPPY READING and all best wishes, Anna

My Review

For a writer, she was suddenly bereft of words to say how much she liked that idea—liked the whole idea of a rest-of-my-life kind of love.

There is a reason that I love a good series like Doors to the Past. Once I begin a series, I feel a need to read it in its entirety, even if the books are stand-alones, as is the case here. Otherwise, I would never have picked up High-Wire Heartbreak because if I’m being honest, nothing about the circus has ever interested me. Thus I was admittedly a bit dubious, especially given that Anna Schmidt is also an author whose work I haven’t previously read. However, I am impressed by this tale of romance, heartbreak, and the echoes of history.

Told in the alternating third-person viewpoints of Lucy in 1936 and Chloe in 2022, High-Wire Heartbreak by Anna Schmidt gives readers a fictional glimpse into the Ringling Circus and its star trapeze artist, Lucinda Conroy, contrasted with a present-day bestselling historical mystery author, Chloe Whitfield. The stories intersect at Ca’ d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, where Chloe is working on her next novel and exploring her grandmother’s connection to Lucinda. As the storylines dovetail, the scandal that overhangs the past becomes increasingly intriguing to Chloe. With the advent of genealogy sites and resources that have become available in recent years, ancestry, in my opinion, provides a fascinating basis not only for reference but also for connecting with relatives from around the world.

A novel with elements that will appeal to readers of various genres, High-Wire Heartbreak speaks to those who admire resiliency and the strength to trust God despite scandal, rejection, and self-doubt. Despite not caring for her character much at first, overall I found Tilda to be a surprise, a testament to what using one’s own God-given skills and talents can accomplish. This story highlights the need for us to encourage and care about others, whether they are our friends or not. Schmidt’s description of Chloe at one pivotal point in the plot demonstrates this: “Chloe’s heart went out to her, and she decided she would do her best to make sure Tilda was a success on her own terms for a change.” Sometimes that is all a person needs to shift their attitude or behavior, and even to even to solve a decades-old mystery!

For fans of split-time stories, Christian historical fiction, the circus and especially the trapeze, genealogy, and of course romance, High-Wire Heartbreak blends all of these elements beautifully. Schmidt brings together a surprising and unexpected plot resolution in which both the historical and the contemporary plotlines merge to form a lovely grand finale.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Remembrancy, January 25

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 25 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 26

For the Love of Literature, January 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 26

Genesis 5020, January 27

Texas Book-aholic, January 27

Inklings and notions, January 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, January 28

Austen’s Angle: Jane Austen’s Influence in Modern America, January 29

For Him and My Family, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 29

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 30

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 31

Wishful Endings, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Bizwings Blog, February 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 1

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, February 1

Older & Smarter?, February 2

Connie’s History Classroom, February 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 3 (Spotlight)

Bigreadersite, February 3

Blogging with Carol, February 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 4

Life of Literature, February 4

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Joannabair, February 5

Blossoms and Blessings, February 6

Pause for Tales, February 6

Labor Not in Vain, February 6

Splashes of Joy, February 7

Through the Fire Blogs, February 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Anna is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and paper copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/186c0/high-wire-heartbreak-celebration-tour-giveaway

Snuffed Out Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Snuffed Out

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian cozy mystery

Release Date: July 24, 2020

Picnics can be murder… scenes.

What was supposed to be a romantic picnic at “their spot” turns criminal when Katrina and Todd stumble—almost literally—over a body.

What’s the college chef doing under a bush up in the mountains? Other than being dead, that is.

Who killed him? Why?

All clues point to people who Katrina is certain didn’t do it. Especially the one who ends up dead himself.

Uh, oh.

Thanks to a slow-burning romantic relationship that can’t seem to get past chapter one, and a determination to save her friend from false arrest, Katrina joins Todd again as they riddle out bizarre clues, weed through unlikely suspects, and learn to communicate on a more personal level.

What do you get when you combine literary humor, sweet romance, and a practical helping of faith? A cozy mystery that’ll keep you guessing. Barbara Cornthwaite’s second Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read.

Snag Snuffed Out today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

Teaser for Snuffed Out

Todd closed the folder with the Franklin case paperwork in it and laid it on top of the stack of folders waiting to be filed. He almost reached for the Delaney case notes again but resisted the impulse. There was no new information in there, and he’d gone over everything a dozen times in the last few days. He had promised Katrina he wouldn’t give up, but without any new leads to pursue, there wasn’t much he could do.

He shook his head, impatient with himself. He’d been doing so well at putting her out of his mind—hadn’t thought of her all day until this moment. Now he’d probably be struggling for the rest of the day.

John Ortega poked his head into Todd’s office.

“Hey, we just got a call from the librarian at Wilkester College about the theft of a manuscript. The chief said either one of us could go, but I thought you might like to take it.”

“Why?”

“Oh, come on,” said John. “You think I’m blind and deaf?”

“It’s no use. Nothing’s going to happen between Dr. Peters and me.”

John leaned up against the door frame and grinned at him. “’Dr. Peters,’ huh? She was ‘Katrina’ for weeks.”

“Well, that was before. Now that I know a relationship isn’t possible, I need to keep my distance.”

“She turned you down?”

“I didn’t ask, but trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

“Hmm,” John said. “You don’t usually give up on things so easily. Well, do you mind handling this anyway? I’ve got that other robbery case to deal with, and I’m supposed to be interviewing that guy from Tacoma in a couple hours.” Todd hesitated and John added, “She’s an adjunct professor, right? She’s probably not even on campus now, and she certainly won’t be in the library.”

“Oh, okay.” Todd sighed. He pushed back his chair and stood up.

“’Attaboy. Thanks for taking the call.” John turned to go and then looked back. “It will get easier, you know.”

“I know.” As long as I don’t see her again.

My Review

The Wilkester Mysteries is a series that I hope will continue and result in many volumes. As far as cozy mysteries go, I am rather picky and often find them too fluffy or dull, which is why I lean more toward the suspense genre. However, Barbara Cornthwaite has managed to create a cozy series that has light danger and thrills without inducing nightmares or putting readers to sleep. There is a near-perfect blend of mystery, romance, literature, and faith that both entertains and educates, along with some wry humor for good measure.

For those who have bemoaned the seeming dearth of witty literary fiction focused on historical literature (or at least the knowledge thereof), this series needs to go to the top of your to-read list! Snuffed Out is book two, and in my opinion it is necessary to read book one, Brought to Book, first (read my review HERE). The characters remain consistent and although the crimes differ, the storyline itself continues, and in this case there is not enough backstory in the sequel to sufficiently understand who each person is and what is happening. Katrina narrates both stories in the first person, drawing readers directly into the mysteries and her personal life. My favorite character in the first book, I have to admit that I found Katrina annoying at times in this one, particularly when she begins comparing herself to Todd’s ex-wife. This does demonstrate her humanity, though, and her selflessness is evidenced by how she always takes care of those in need. She still quotes famous classic literature, with a fondness for the work of Jane Austen, applying it to life in unique ways.

Spiritual truths gently permeate the narrative, explaining the Gospel to characters—and readers—in brilliantly simple terms. Todd’s analysis of sin particularly stood out to me and is more relevant than ever during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic: “Sin is dark. All sin is dark. Not just the violent and heart-breaking crimes. That stuff is what evil looks like with the mask off. Sins that don’t seem so bad—losing your temper, telling a white lie, gossiping—is the same dark evil, just with a mask on. But all of it is bad enough to separate us from God. All of it is why Jesus had to die on the cross.” Often enough, we are faced with overwhelming situations that make us feel as if we, like Katrina, are “a turtle walking through tar”, but thankfully, if we walk with the Lord, He gives us the strength and the courage to continue on as Paul exhorts us in Philippians 3:13. In Snuffed Out, fostering is again a significant theme, which is so important in and of itself as well as for the lessons it can teach. Consoling a new foster mom, Katrina tells her: “But just because something turns out to be difficult—or more difficult—than you thought it would be doesn’t mean you don’t deserve help or sympathy.” The same applies to our trials, too, and we have a Savior ready and waiting for us to call on Him!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

Nancy E Wood, November 29

The Avid Reader, November 30

Genesis 5020, November 30

For the Love of Literature, November 30

Sodbusterliving, December 1

Artistic Nobody, December 1 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

deb’s Book Review, December 2

Remembrancy, December 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 3

Splashes of Joy, December 3

Inklings and notions, December 4

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 4

For Him and My Family, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 6

Emily Yager, December 6

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 7

Lis Loves Reading, December 7

Labor Not in Vain, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Mary Hake, December 8

She Lives to Read, December 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 10

Godly Book Reviews, December 10

SusanLovesBooks, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bizwings Blog, December 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f2/snuffed-out-celebration-tour-giveaway