Tag Archives: western romance

Taming Julia Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Taming Julia

Author: Jodie Wolfe

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: November 2011

In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania.

More from Jodie

I love mail-order bride stories, so I wondered what would happen if a pastor advertised for a genteel woman and the opposite showed up instead. I thought I could further complicate things by having the couple marry by proxy before she even arrives. Just that scenario alone made for a fun story to write.

My heroine, Jules Walker moved to Kansas from Texas to be a mail-order bride, even though she didn’t know what that was at the time. For most of her adult life, she’s helped her brother track outlaws in Texas as part of his job as a deputy US Marshal.

As part of the story, she has to come to terms with a traumatic event in her past. I won’t share more so I don’t spoil it for you, but I needed somewhere in Texas for this incident to take place. Because my husband’s aunt and uncle live in Texas, they were a wealth of resources when it came to accurately describing the area. One place in particular is called the Narrows and it’s situated close to them, but it’s on private property.

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to travel and visit them. We received special permission to go on the private ranch and see the Narrows. It’s an unexpected area with sharp limestone rocks, and a deep cavern carved out by the Blanco River. Most times, it’s a sleepy waterway, but when the area has a flash flood, water rushes through the cavern and often to the top. When this happens, you can hear the water gushing from far away.

I so enjoyed being able to see the area first-hand. There are places where the water is shallow and others that are extremely deep pools. It has such a distinct beauty. At some point I hope to use this setting in another book.

That’s a small snapshot into how Taming Julia came to life. I hope you’ll enjoy the story of two unlikely people who are thrown together.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl. I wrote a poem in second grade as a school writing assignment. Soon after I was writing little stories and stapling them together to make a ‘book’. I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

That’s too hard to pinpoint. Although I can say that my love of historical fiction began as a child watching and reading Little House on the Prairie series.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Good question. I don’t know that it’s a quirk, but I try and finish my writing for the day by ending in the middle of a scene where things are still unresolved, so I have a place that’s easy to get back into writing the next day.

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

I don’t know that I have a standard schedule other than I try and write Monday through Friday during the day while my husband is working. I finish up before I know he’ll be heading home and take weekends off so we can spend time together unless I’m under a deadline.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I consider myself a plotster. 🙂 I often have a general idea of where the plot is going to head, but I allow my characters to lead. They often take me where I didn’t think they would go.

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

Most times it’s at home, in my office. Although I’ve had some time this spring where I was helping out with the grandchildren which meant taking my computer with me and squeezing writing time in between naps.

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

For me, it’s the Victorian Era. I think it’s because of reading those Little House on the Prairie books.

Describe your book in five words.

Quirky, poignant, feisty character, faith-filled.

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

Definitely Jules from Taming Julia. She’s different than any other female character I’ve ever written. She’s naïve because she hasn’t been exposed to much in her life, but she has a heart for others.

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

Not so much, although I do try to have a thread of mystery in each of them that I hope the reader doesn’t figure out right away. 🙂

What are your hobbies?

Reading, knitting, walking, and spending time with my husband.

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

My husband. He’s my hero. He’s the one who is always encouraging me and my writing.

What is your favorite book?

I can’t pick just one. I do have some favorite authors – Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Kristi Ann Hunter.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

Definitely traditional books. There’s nothing like the feel of the pages and the smell of a new book. 🙂

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

It’s changed through the years. Right now, the one I keep going to is John 14:27 (NIV) which says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

If you could live inside a book, which one would it be?

There’s no way I can choose, sorry. 🙂

If you could meet one author, living or passed, who would it be?

Perhaps Laura Ingalls Wilder since her works impacted my life.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Trust God and His timing. He’ll bring about publication in His way and His timing.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, May 25 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 25

Texas Book-aholic, May 26

Simple Harvest Reads, May 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, May 28

deb’s Book Review, May 29

For the Love of Literature, May 30 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 2

Connie’s History Classroom, June 3

Inklings and notions, June 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 5

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living, June 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jodie is giving away the grand prize of an audio CD of 12 historical novels and novellas. Stories of chivalry, adventure and romance!!

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/1e36a/taming-julia-celebration-tour-giveaway

Jack Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Jack

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Women are trouble—lying, cheating, untrustworthy bundles of trouble.

Jack Clausen doesn’t need anyone but his horse and a boss who won’t interfere in his personal life—or lack of one.

Sure, he’s a lonely cowboy, but better lonely than brokenhearted.

If only he hadn’t met a girl who made him hope that honest and true women do exist. Maybe he wouldn’t be riding off into a snowstorm with a fresh determination to avoid women—indefinitely.

When Hazel Meissner sees a cowboy risk life, limb, and horse to save a child, she knows he’s someone special. When he finally gives her his heart, she considers herself the most blessed woman alive.

However, when he rides off without a word, she wonders if her heart will survive the loss.

One broken man. One trusting woman. One orchestrated misunderstanding that tears them apart. What’ll it take to bring Jack home again?

It’s Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing mashed up with the old ballad, “Cowboy Jack.” Don’t miss a cast of characters inspired by the Bard himself—especially Dirk and Deborah (Benedick & Beatrice).

Jack: a lot of hullaballoo on the prairie.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

The Inspiration I Hate to Love

The plaintive notes of a ballad filled the living room. People sat on couches and chairs or stood in the doorway, listening. Three steps up the staircase, out of view of most of the room, a little girl sat, chin in her hands, listening.

If you looked close, you’d see freckles dotting her nose and crooked teeth that never were too large for her mouth like most children’s were. Just a bit closer, and you’d see wide, hazel eyes riveted to the man with the guitar seated on the hearth. To his right, a cup of coffee and sometimes a shot of whiskey.

With a voice like Jim Reeves (the non-twangy Reeves, mind you), the songs told stories, like all ballads do—a little blind girl praying for her father’s future happiness, a girl of thirteen who barely escaped a massacre in 19th century Wyoming. “Hazel eyes,” the man called her. California Joe—he was a real man, although not as good of one as the song made out.

Sometimes the man sang happier songs, but most of them were slow, western ballads that could keep Nicolas Sparks writing for decades.

And the little girl loved them all—especially California Joe and one about a cowboy who left his sweetheart alone on the prairie after a quarrel. One called “Cowboy Jack.”

As you’ve probably surmised, I was the little girl, and that man who sang and stirred the hearts of our family at nearly every gathering was my father.

How I miss those days.

For years, I wanted to give Jack a happier ending. See, the song goes like this. A lonely cowboy (with a heart so brave and true) meets and falls in love with a maiden (with eyes of heaven’s own blue). Alas, as with all good romances, the couple quarrel and Jack rides away. He finds a new band of cowboys and would have been just fine, but someone asks him to sing a song to “drive all cares away.” Alas, the song he devises is one about a “lonely maiden who waited for her Jack.”

Of course, he rides off to ask forgiveness. It’s all his fault. He arrives too late. She died of a broken heart on the “lonely prairie where skies are always blue.”

After I began writing, the idea came to me to turn those songs Dad sang—old ones that had been passed on and down through many different versions—into novels. I’d write all the subtext the songs left out.

I’d give them happy endings.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. One by one, I figured out how to do it, but Jack… well, I didn’t want to change the stories. I just wanted to leave on hope instead of despair.

Shakespeare to the rescue!

I was watching Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado about Nothing adaptation, and the answer came to me so clearly. It had the solution I needed. So, I smooshed the song and the play together. Inside, you’ll find the characters Shakespeare created (including Dirk and Deborah and their biting repartee—they steal the show!) in the setting and with the elements of the ballad, too.

Dad’s older now. His hands are gnarled with age, swollen with arthritis. His mind is slipping away. Today, you’ll find his guitar at my house. My son now owns it, but he doesn’t know the songs I heard played on the old Goya. Still, when I take it out of the case, tune it up, and pluck the strings, everything shifts. Suddenly, I’m nine years old again, sitting on my uncle’s stairs, just out of sight, watching. Listening. Heart breaking.

See, I’ll never hear my father play again, and I can’t play either. So, the songs will have to live on with stories of Mary, Jethro, Maggie… and of course, Jack.

My Review

Hearing the word ballad calls to mind images of Davy Crockett and of men sitting around a campfire. I love the author’s inspiration for this novel, basing it on a ballad she heard as a child and simultaneously remaining true to the original while also handling the ending a bit differently. In literature, a ballad and an epic poem can be very similar, so with that in mind it does not seem much of a stretch to go a step further to novel format. Although not necessarily a defining attribute, I tend to associate ballads with highly dramatized action and heroic feats, and with a subtitle of “a lot of hullabaloo on the prairie”, I figured that this book was going to fit the bill.

One aspect of the (too few) Chautona Havig books that I’ve read to date that I particularly enjoy is the combination of sincerity and humor, and Jack showcases this especially well. On the one hand, there is the cowboy Jack, a drifter of sorts with a checkered past that began on the streets of New York as a young boy and has caused him to keep his distance from women—until he meets Hazel Meissner, who could marry into high society but chooses a wary cowboy instead. However, the course of true love never did run smooth, and the same can be said for Dirk and Deborah, whose clever verbal jousting belies their mutual affection. The most amusing character, by far, is Sheriff Hawmutt, whose brief interlude offers a reprieve from an emotional section of the story and provides comic relief in the form of hilarious malapropisms.

A strong Christian faith element suffuses the narrative, focusing on forgiveness and trust. One of my favorite quotations from the book sums it up so well: “You can’t have it both ways. Either the Lord is good and what He says is also good, or the Lord is a liar and a liar cannot be good.” While it is easy to become frustrated with Jack because he trusts someone he knows is dishonest over Hazel, who has never given him reason to doubt her, it’s the same thing that we do all too often. We listen to the lies of the enemy rather than the truth of God. Our reaction when hurt or wronged should be to forgive others and trust God, as Hazel does, but how often do we actually do that? For as implausibly perfect as I found Hazel to be, I have to admire her Christlike attitude throughout the story. As the apostle Paul implores us in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

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, September 21

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 22

For the Love of Literature, September 23

Bigreadersite, September 23

Texas Book-aholic, September 24

lakesidelivingsite, September 24

Inklings and notions, September 25

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 27

Hookmeinabook, September 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 28

Artistic Nobody, September 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 29

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 30

Lots of Helpers, September 30

She Lives To Read, October 1

Mary Hake, October 1

Daysong Reflections, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

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

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Spoken from the Heart, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of the book and a $25 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/10101/jack-celebration-tour-giveaway