Chasing Sunrise, Finding History — PeggySue Wells

Today I’m happy to welcome author PeggySue Wells as she shares about her book, Chasing Sunrise.

Like finding treasure in each novel, I include unique places the reader probably has not visited, adventures my reader most likely has not experienced, and historical facts about our zany world that were not in our text books. When a fellow author accused this was a carry-over from being a homeschool mom, I assured her I was this way long before homeschooling.

In suspense novel, Chasing Sunrise, I take the reader scuba diving along the wall off the coast of St. Croix. While scuba diving is fairly commonplace, diving the wall is akin to plunging down an elevator shaft. The majestic formation drops some 3000 feet below the ocean surface.

With the island as the setting, I included the historic sugar mills, rum production, the seven flags that flew over St. Croix, World War II sonobuoys, sea glass, how to crack open a fresh coconut, mocho jumbies, Alexander Hamilton, and crab races.

Pivotal to the plot, our characters experience Hurricane Hugo, the category four Cape Verde tropical cyclone that decimated 95 percent of the island in 1989. International killers and the killer hurricane descend simultaneously on the island. Unable to save the life of someone he cared about earlier, will our hero’s skills be enough to protect those he loves on the island?

Native to the island, the manchineel tree is deadly to everyone except a species of land crabs. St. Croix is the only United States-owned soil where Columbus landed, and he quickly discovered the danger of the manchineel after several of his men ate the fruit and died.

Michael examined the extent of the damage. “If it’s so dangerous, why not get rid of the tree?”

“That’s just as dangerous.” Jake shook his head. “Maybe more. Standing beneath the tree during rain may cause blistering. Cutting the tree gets the poisonous sap everywhere. Burning the tree causes blindness if the smoke reaches the eyes. Inhaling the smoke blisters the nose, mouth, and respiratory system.”

“Nuisance,” Michael groused.

Discovering the tree and its parts contain strong toxins, what’s an author to do? Of course, I let our military pararescueman leverage the tree as a weapon against the unsavory bad guys.

Exploring, learning, and researching are perks of being an author. The fun is multiplied by weaving in the lesser-known history of places like St. Croix. Chasing Sunrise becomes an experience for my readers.

Click HERE to get a free Chasing Sunrise bonus chapter: Wings for Christmas.

Sign up for my newsletter at www.PeggySueWells.com and be instantly entered into a drawing for a free ebook of Chasing Sunrise.

Watch for my new release, The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make on November 17. Preorder is available now. New website, Single Mom Circle, launches mid-October. Drop in for lots of resources and free gifts.

About PeggySue

“Eminently quotable, PeggySue Wells is a tonic — warm like your favorite blanket, bracing like a stiff drink.”

History buff, and tropical island votary, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, PeggySue is the bestselling author of 29 books, translated into eight languages, including The What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Radio talk show host, author, and speaker, PeggySue interviews industry experts, entrepreneurs, and exceptional voices to help people live better, together. Click HERE to get a free Chasing Sunrise bonus chapter: Wings for Christmas

Connect with PeggySue Wells at

PeggySueWells.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/peggysue.wells

CHAPTER 1

Captain Michael Northington looked toward the patient’s room. The door was closed.

“There’s a VIP patient at Bethesda.” Corbin MacIntyre, the special ops commander had briefed him earlier. “Protect the room. No one is allowed access except medical staff, and they already have their orders.”

“You’re expecting an attempt on the patient’s life?”


“Monitor the floor. Apprehend anyone.”


The night watch in a hospital in the late 1980s was atypical for the parajumper accustomed to more active assignments. Establishing a runway before an invasion, rescuing a downed pilot, or descending from a hovering helicopter to a ship bucking like a bronco in a wildly choppy sea were customary fare for Michael and his four-man team. But tonight found his partner and him serving more as security guards in the upscale medical center than as trained rescue personnel. Still, orders were orders.

Now, Michael casually observed a gray-haired janitor as he lugged a wash bucket into the hospital corridor. Mop. Slosh. Wring. Mop. The overhead fluorescent lights gleamed off the man’s glasses, and his name badge swung back and forth as he swept the mop from side to side.

“Evenin’,” the custodian mumbled as he shuffled up to Michael.

As the old man swished the ammonia-smelling mop, Michael stepped away and let the man do his job. The janitor mopped his way into the room across the hall from the room occupied by the protected patient.

A thick-waisted nurse in soft-soled shoes walked toward the patient’s room. She frowned when Michael stepped in front of her and flashed her identity badge and an irritated attitude. He nodded and moved aside. She brushed past and entered the room, closing the door behind her. Suppressing a yawn, Michael checked his watch. In a couple of hours, the sun would rise and his shift would end. He anticipated a platter-sized breakfast at the twenty-four-hour diner followed by a nap.

Eager for morning and breakfast, Michael glanced out the window. A pale glow promised daybreak, and he could almost smell bacon spitting on the grill. He thought of the diner with its chrome and red vinyl seats that let him belly up to the counter. Early in the morning before the pert waitress arrived, the cook took orders and slathered the hot grill with margarine. Like a symphony conductor, the white-aproned expert simultaneously threw eggs and hash browns to sizzle, adding ladles of melt-in-your-mouth flapjack batter to the crackling, popping breakfast serenade. Michael’s stomach growled and he looked again at his watch.

The nurse came out of the room, adjusted the stethoscope around her neck, and shut the door behind her. Michael watched as she entered another room, continuing her rounds. Turning his attention back to the patient’s room, he observed the slightest movement as the door silently closed.

Jaguar-fast, Michael covered the space down the hall. He opened the door without a sound. In the darkened room, bending over the still form in the bed was the janitor. Light from the hall spilled into the room behind Michael. The janitor whirled around just as Michael lunged at him. With well-trained maneuvers Michael quickly pinned the man’s arms and muscled him into the hall.

“Send someone to collect.” Michael spoke into his radio.

The janitor struggled like a wild man, surprising Michael with his desperate fight.

“Please,” the man pleaded. “She needs water.”

“Easy, old-timer.” He gripped the man tighter.

From the stairwell, Captain Bryce Lassiter ran to meet Michael. “Okay, partner?”

“Yeah.” The man in his grip stopped struggling.

Bryce’s attention shifted to the elevator as the doors opened and four uniformed men stepped out and strode toward them. Suddenly, the janitor jerked from Michael’s hold and ran back toward the patient’s room. Michael dove and tackled the man, and the two fell hard on the clean linoleum.

“She needs me,” the man rasped.

Without a word, Michael jerked the man to his feet. The janitor’s glasses were broken from the impact and blood from his nose mingled with tears on his face as two special-forces officers roughly grabbed his arms and nearly carried him to the elevator.

“Let me care for her,” he sobbed.

As the group reached the elevator, the old man craned his neck, the tendons standing out like cords, to look back toward the patient’s room.

The look of anguish on his face twisted Michael’s gut.

“Verity,” the man wailed. “My Verity!”

The two soldiers pushed him into the elevator and the doors whispered shut.

“Back to work.” Bryce made shooing motions to the two remaining soldiers who turned toward the elevator.

“Back to my post.” Bryce clapped Michael on the back. “Call if you need me.”

He took several steps toward the stairway and then looked back. Michael stood rooted to the spot. His partner returned to his side. “What’s up? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Michael spun on his heel and strode to the patient’s room. Three paces took him to the bedside where he looked at the still form. The light was dim, but enough to see the spilled cup of water on the floor. Enough to see her.

The nurse brushed past to check on her patient, scolding everyone for the mess, and reminding them to keep quiet. In a rush of motion, two sets of strong arms grabbed Michael on either side and hauled him from the room. Too stunned to resist, Michael was unceremoniously dumped in the hallway.

One soldier closed the patient’s door and stood in front of it. “I’m sorry, sir.” He addressed Michael. “Orders are that no one goes into this room.”

Bryce pushed his nose into the man’s face. “He’s your commanding officer, you moron.”

“Sir, yes, sir.” The soldier straightened his shoulders. “Our orders are no one goes into the room. Not even my commanding officer.”

“I have to relieve you of your post.” The second soldier took a position between Michael and the room.

Staring at the closed door, Michael murmured, “No problem, soldier. I was just leaving anyway.” He turned and walked toward the stairway.

Bryce caught up. “Where we goin,’ partner?”

A soldier jogged after the two and blocked their way. “Sir, I have to escort you out, sir.”

“Knock yourself out.” Michael brushed past him.

The soldier ran and blocked the way again.

“You’re getting redundant,” Bryce said to the man.

“By way of the elevator.” The soldier spoke to Michael.

“I prefer to walk.” Michael’s hands were fists at his sides.

“I realize that, sir.” The soldier swallowed. “Orders are that we use the elevator.”

“Bloody orders.” Bryce sighed.

Michael looked at Bryce.

“I love when you do that,” Bryce said.

“Do what?”

“Raise one eyebrow like that.”

“I can’t believe you used that word.”

The soldier cleared his throat. “Sirs, can we continue this conversation in the elevator?”

Bryce turned toward the elevator and started walking. “What word?”

Michael followed while the sweating soldier trailed behind. “My word.”

Bryce’s expression was the picture of innocence. “Your word?”

The elevator doors opened, and Michael stepped inside. Nervous and perspiring, the soldier stood to his right. The second soldier occupied the post Michael had kept near the patient’s room.

“Yeah, my word.”

Bryce remained in the hall. “Who said it’s your word?”

The elevator doors closed.

September 2020 New Releases!

September 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Until I Met You by Tari Faris — Libby Kingsley dreams of a new life and a new library for the charming small town of Heritage, MI. Things get complicated when her big ideas threaten Austin Williams’ blueprints and his plan to leave town unattached. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Love Redeemed by Lisa Jordan — They agreed to help each other out. No one mentioned falling in love. Back home after losing her job, Isabella Bradley plans to stay only long enough to save her father’s diner, but she can’t do it alone. Her childhood friend Tucker Holland has the perfect solution—he will renovate the diner if she’ll be a nanny for his twins. But as Isabella and Tucker reconnect, their arrangement begins to feel a lot less temporary… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Contemporary: 

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox — When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing. Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved. In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go. (Contemporary from Revell [Baker])

Finding Wings by Deborah Raney — Taking care of her family is a blessing, but Britt thought there would be more to life–like falling in love . . . (Contemporary from Kregel Publications) 

Historical: 

A Christmas Tale for Little Women by Linda Brooks Davis — Broadview is attired for Christmas. Adelaide Fitzgerald must provide two girls a Christmas like no other. Has she thought of everything? Has she accomplished enough? What would top off this Christmas in an extraordinary way? Addie’s answer lies just the other side of Rock Creek. What will it take for her to recognize it as the Christmas topper she’s been seeking? (Historical, Independently Published)


The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer — During the Great Depression, city-dweller Addie Cowherd dreams of becoming a novelist and offering readers the escape that books had given her during her tragic childhood. When her father loses his job, she is forced to take the only employment she can find—delivering books on horseback to poor coal-mining families in the hills of Kentucky. But turning a new page will be nearly impossible in Boone’s Hollow, where residents are steeped in superstitions and deeply suspicious of outsiders. Even local Emmett Tharp feels the sting of rejection after returning to the tiny mountain hamlet as the first in his family to graduate college. And as the crippled economy leaves many men jobless, he fears his degree won’t be worth much in a place where most men either work the coal mine or run moonshine. As Addie also struggles to find her place, she’ll unearth the truth about a decades-old rivalry. But when someone sets out to sabotage the town’s library program, will the culprit chase Addie away or straight into the arms of the only person who can help her put a broken community back together? (Historical from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

Under the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee — Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena’s banker father has retreated into the bottle, her sister is married to a lazy charlatan and gambler, and Rena is an unemployed newspaper reporter. Eager for any writing job, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena. As Frankie recounts her life as a slave, Rena is horrified to learn of all the older woman has endured—especially because Rena’s ancestors owned slaves. While Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. But will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming? (Historical from Tyndale House)

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright — In 1928, the Bonaventure Circus has become a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby and is no longer content to leave the reason for that rejection unquestioned. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer. Decades later, an old circus train depot’s future hangs in the balance–it will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its fate rests on Realtor Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend. (Historical from Bethany House [Baker])

Historical Romance: 

Enduring Dreams by Sandra Ardoin — Claire Kingsley once dared to assert herself into the male world of 1890s architecture. It cost her husband both his life and an heir. Now fear controls her choices and her dreams. When offered a chance to create another design, she fights against the pull, afraid of further disaster. But disturbing news ignites a fierce loyalty to her past love and a powerful attraction to a new one—an attraction she resists…for his sake. Mark Gregory’s first architectural project in town comes with the proviso that he works with a female. He balks, even though Claire stirs his heart like no other woman. Yet, with a loan payment looming, risking his business on someone of unknown talent invites failure, a word he’s struck from his vocabulary. When bigotry and Claire’s fears threaten an important commission, will she summon the courage to help Mark succeed, or will she destroy another man’s dream? (Historical Romance from Corner Room Books)

Light in the Mountain Sky by Misty M. Beller — Determined to prove her worth, Meksem fiercely fought to earn her place among the warriors in her Nez Perce camp. When her half-sister is captured by an enemy tribe, she refuses to trust the rescue to anyone else. But her new friends insist on joining her mission, and she battles between relief and frustration at their presence. Especially the white man who peers at her as if he can see through the face of the warrior she struggles so hard to maintain. Spaniard Adam Vargas thrives on adventure wherever his travels take him. He’s fallen in love with this Rocky Mountain wilderness, as well as the spotted horses the Nez Perce tribe raise. His fascination with this Indian maiden-turned-warrior catches him off guard though, including the way she seems to be fighting for more than her sister’s safe return. The journey proves more perilous than any of the group expects, and the secret Meksem hides becomes impossible to conceal. If they live through this mission, the life they knew will never be the same again. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

A Joyful Christmas by Cynthia Hickey, Liz Johnson, Vickie McDonough, Liz Tolsma, Carrie Turansky, and Erica Vetsch — A Christmas Collection to Warm the Heart Grab a warm cup of tea and watch as romance is kindled and joy is restored to broken lives during six bygone era Christmas celebrations. (Historical from Barbour Publishing)

Love’s Pure Light by Susanne Dietze, Shannon McNear, Deborah Raney, and Janine Rosche — Be transported to unique time periods as you follow a treasured family nativity set through four generations of the Shepherd family. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Palmer Girl by Dawn Klinge — When insurance tycoon, Cornelius Nordeman, is recruited to work for the Exposition Corporation, the New Yorker brings his family to live at the Palmer House Hotel, far away from any reminders of a recent tragedy. He’s hopeful this move will offer respite from his family’s grief. Elizabeth Nordeman, his daughter, has something to prove, which leads her to seek work as a florist at Marshall Field’s, Chicago’s finest department store. John Lewis knows something is different and intriguing about the new florist he hired. When his boss, Marshall Field, informs him that Elizabeth is the Nordeman heiress, his job suddenly becomes more complicated–especially when he finds himself falling for her. On the eve of the Columbian Exposition of 1893, Chicago prepares to prove that it’s a first-class city, and the brightest minds from around the country will plan the most spectacular fair the world has seen. The World’s Fair will bring change and innovation into a society bound tightly by class and tradition. Elizabeth’s heart longs to push against those boundaries, so what’s holding her back? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Love at First Flight by Linda Shenton Matchett — Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training…the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson. Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Mystery: 

The Sleuth’s Surprise by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Mary Daley has been the sheriff of Tipton County for more than two decades, but someone wants her job. When it seems circumstances can’t get more complicated, a murder happens on her watch. Had she been the intended victim? Deputy Chief Lyle Griffin only wants Mary to be happy, but when he asks her if she’d consider retiring, it sets off a string of events and emotions that muddy their friendship. Nancy Daley-Malone can’t believe anyone would run for sheriff against her mom. She is onboard to help run the best campaign Tipton County has ever seen until the sheriff’s opponent is murdered and Nancy’s husband joins the race. On top of that, it appears someone is out to kill her mother as well. Can Nancy, along with the sheriff’s department, find the murderer before it’s too late? Will Lyle and Mary be able to admit their feelings for one another or will the status quo remain? (Mystery from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense: 

Airborne by DiAnn Mills — A female FBI agent boards an international flight, and two hours into the flight, a deadly virus spreads through the aircraft. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

Speculative: 

Forsaken Island by Sharon Hinck — The people of Meriel have long believed their island world floats alone in the vast ocean universe, so they are astonished when another island drifts into view. With resources becoming scarce, Carya and Brantley quickly volunteer to search the new land for supplies. After navigating a barrier of menacing trees, the pair encounter a culture of perpetually happy people who readily share their talents and their possessions. But all is not what it seems. At the core of the island is a horror that threatens everyone, including Brantley and Carya. Freeing the villagers of the bondage they’ve chosen may cost Carya and Brantley more than they could have imagined. Even if the two succeed, they’ll have to find a way to return to Meriel quickly … or be cut off from their home forever. (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)

 

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Holiday Hitches at Mustang Pass by Cindy M. Amos, A deputy falls in love with a judge’s daughter while racing to build a new church building in time for his three friends’ weddings. (Historical Romance)

 

All I Ever Needed by D. L. Lane, He’s the beast lurking within the shadows. She’s the beauty living in the light. (Contemporary Romance)

Sown in Peace by Joy Avery Melville, How much can one wounded soul take? (General Contemporary)

Puppy Ciao by Annette O’Hare, In the small town of Kerrville, Texas, thirteen-year-old Jeannie McKay rescues two purebred Weimaraner puppies found drowning in Johnson Creek and vows to find out who is responsible. (Children’s)

August 2020 New Releases!

August 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

The Price of Dreams by Toni Shiloh — Ballet has always been my life, but one terrible moment may have destroyed everything I’ve worked so hard for—especially my title of Octavia Ricci, principal ballerina. I thought for sure my physical therapist, Dr. Noah Wright, could help me obtain my dream once more, but he wants more than I’m prepared to give. I’ve seen firsthand the trials of interracial relationships. I’m a product of one myself and promised I’d never put my hopefully-someday kids through that drama. Everyone keeps telling me to let go of other people’s expectations, but I’m just not sure I can. Besides, if my dreams of returning to ballet are futile, what hope is there in seeking unconditional love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Peace in the Valley by Kelly Irvin — After a devastating wildfire sweeps through her town, one young Amish woman is shown a different way to practice her faith . . . but pursuing it could cost her everything she holds dear, including the man she loves. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Contemporary:

The Plans We Made by Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue — Caroline Chapman is reeling from a broken engagement. Determined to start again, she moves cross-country for her dream job of planning events in the historical mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Just as her life is getting back on track, she gets an email that shakes her very foundations. Linda Riley’s life looks picture perfect – a wonderful husband, two great kids, involved in church and the community. Then comes the diagnosis that shatters the facade. In order to save her son’s life, she must reveal secrets that can rip everything apart. Connected by more than painful circumstances, these two women discover a sacred bond. In this beautiful story of love, loss, and the fight for life, Caroline and Linda experience the reality that things don’t always go according to The Plans We Made. (Women’s Fiction from White Glove)

Historical:

In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan — While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression? (Historical from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

The Heart of Courage by Lynne Basham Tagawa — In 1753, troubling news comes to Russell’s Ridge… Susanna Russell longs to escape her valley home. When war breaks out, she gets her wish to study in fabulous Williamsburg. But she realizes she’s lost something important along the way. Something—and someone. James Paxton is studying for the ministry. But when violence threatens the valley, his path becomes clouded. What is God’s will for his life? The answer is alarming—and impossible. Red Hawk spies white surveyors near his home, a harbinger of trouble to come. Shawnee chiefs go to Philadelphia to treat for peace, but the unthinkable happens, and Red Hawk loses all he once held dear. Then he has a strange dream. What can it mean? (Historical from Blue Rock Press)

Historical Romance:

Heart of a Warrior by Angela K. Couch — All Christina Astle wants is to reach Oregon before her baby is born, but the wagon train is attacked, and her husband killed, stranding her in a mountain labyrinth. Raised in the East, within civilization’s embrace, survival is not a skill she’s learned. Neither is evading the lone warrior dogging her trail. Disgusted by the greed and cruelty of men like his white father, Towan has turned to the simpler existence of his mother’s tribal people. He is not prepared for the fiery woman who threatens to upturn his entire life … and his heart. (Historical Romance from Prism [Pelican Book Group])

The Shopkeeper’s Widow by Izzy James — When the love of her life returns with a load of smuggled firearms, she must discover a new way to happiness. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Dinah’s Dilemma by Linda Shenton Matchett — Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife. As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Katherine’s Arrangement by Blossom Turner — Marrying him is her only choice to save her family, but Josiah Richardson isn’t at all the man she expected. A marriage of convenience is the last thing she wants, but there doesn’t seem to be a better option for her family or herself. Meanwhile, Josiah works hard to befriend Katherine, to earn her trust and win her love. And Katherine is pleasantly surprised to find herself drawn to Josiah, until an unexpected friendship tears apart all they’ve worked for. Where once the promise of love had budded between Josiah and Katherine, now they wonder what to do with their so-called marriage. Is love strong enough to weave its healing power through two broken hearts? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Called to London by her great grandmother Queen Victoria, former Pinkerton agent Alice Anne von Wettin goes undercover to assist Scotland Yard in catching Jack the Ripper after working a similar case in Austin, Texas. (Suspenseful Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Accidental Target by Theresa Hall — Allison Moore can’t deny what she sees—a lifeless hand sticking out of a tarp in the back of a crashed pickup truck. Seconds later, she’s on the run with a murderer on her heels. Nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted…except police sergeant Jackson Archer. But with someone set on silencing her, can Jackson keep his promise of protection? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Minutes to Die by Susan Sleeman — It’s the intel every agent fears—terrorists have been smuggled into the country intent on unleashing the most deadly attack since 9/11. With the threat imminent, FBI Agent Kiley Dawson and ICE Agent Evan Bowers are charged with taking down this terrorist cell. Only problem is, Kiley blames Evan for the death of her former partner, and she can barely be in a room with him. But with millions of lives on the line, she has no choice. If it wasn’t for a bad call Evan made, Kiley’s former partner would still be alive, and Evan has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. When he starts falling for her, the agent’s death seems an impossible obstacle—but it’s also the last thing he needs to think about. As the terrorist plot veers toward targeting Kiley’s family, the two are pushed to the breaking point in a race to save countless lives. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Speculative:

Kokopelli’s Song by Suzanne J Bratcher — Seventeen-year-old twins Amy Adams and Mahu Sekatewa team up with Mahu’s friend Diego James to stop ancient evil from tipping our universe into chaos. (Speculative from Scrivenings Press)

 
Rose in the Desert by K.M. Daughters — Anna Babic Robbins, dubbed “The Rose Of The Adriatic” by pilgrims to her village, leaves her home bound for America. She is to deliver secrets concerning the fate of the world to a Chicago priest who will shepherd mankind to prepare to hear God speak. Four women travel to Las Vegas, and while there, snow begins to fall during triple digit heat. They soon learn that the non-accumulating snowfall is a worldwide phenomenon—a universal sign from God preceding the gift of a permanent sign inexplicable by earthly standards. With the culmination of these miraculous events, all their paths intersect, and God will reveal His plans to each soul on earth. Will mankind listen? (Speculative from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Song of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson, When a vlogger spots a man stalking young children, she’s spreads it on social media only to learn she may be mistaken–the man might be innocent. (Contemporary Romance)

Faith and Hope by Amy R. Anguish, Two sisters. One summer. Multiple problems. (Contemporary Romance)

Grace in the Desert by Christine Dillon, Must yesterday’s pain strangle tomorrow’s hope? (General Contemporary)

When Heaven Sighs by Susan Guinn, Angels, death and mysticism surround the arrival of a Dead Sea Scroll in Nashville, Tennessee as a dedicated homicide detective and a local pastor struggle to capture the murderers of two young men brave enough to believe in the scroll’s unique message. (Mystery)

Where She Belongs by Pamela Harstad, A Hawaiian woman desires love and struggles to belong, but a murder changes everything. (Romantic Suspense)

Two Hearts by Ruth Kyser, Tory Hendricks visits a guest ranch in the Hill Country of Texas where she meets the owner, Reed Montgomery. Even though they’ve both decided to remain single, they become good friends. The question is, does God have something more in store for them than just friendship? (Contemporary Romance)

Legacy Redeemed by Robin Patchen, Vanessa will fight to rescue her sister. Caleb will fight to protect Vanessa. But Abbas has evil plans for them all. (Romantic Suspense)

No Secrets No Lies by Tamara Tilley, Charlie lives in hiding. Hunter lives in the limelight. She is afraid to be a part of his world. He cannot imagine her not being in it. (Contemporary Romance)

Devil’s Cauldron by Michael Jack Webb, The FBI asks an ex-Special Forces Ranger once accused of domestic terrorism to investigate a Black Swan event in Antarctica. He must battle interdimensional, supernatural enemies attempting to regain power over humanity after ten-thousand years. (Supernatural Thriller)

I’ll Be Yours for Christmas by Dalyn Weller, Christmas magic in the Cascade Mountains. (Contemporary Romance)

July 2020 New Releases!

July 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance: 

How Sweet It Is by Robin Lee Hatcher — A businessman trying to reconnect with his brother returns to his hometown and rents the apartment where his great-great-grandparents lived during the late 1920s. He never suspects his attractive landlady, a struggling restaurant owner who works with women at a local shelter, is the one person who might help him reach his brother. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

 

Love’s Autumn Harvest by Patricia Lee — A widow, a divorcee, and a widower find themselves in a love triangle that gets complicated as each one finds themselves drawn into the tangled web they weave. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Ready to Trust by Tina Radcliffe — Rancher Reece Rainbolt’s shocked to learn he’s inherited half of Claire Ballard’s family farm—and that he’s a father. Now Claire’s determined to break ties with the man who once left her behind. But Reece will buy her half only on one condition: she must stay in town to help with the harvest…and let him get to know his little girl. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Truth About Fame by Toni Shiloh — When a superstar’s bodyguard pretends to be her fiancé to flush out her stalker, the woman starts falling for a happily ever after that’s just as fake as her tabloid life. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Falling for the Innkeeper by Meghann Whistler — Single mom Laura Lessoway won’t accept her mother’s plan of selling her late grandmother’s inn without a fight. But when big-city attorney Jonathan Masters arrives to arrange an offer from his client, she’s drawn to him. And working together as he helps with repairs only brings them closer. With his career and her home on the line, can they ever find common ground? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical Romance:

A Place to Call Home by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, and Erica Vetsch — Duck for cover in the Superstition Mountains as a woman flees her capture and a marshal pursues his prisoner while the couple is handcuffed together. Exit a stagecoach in an Idaho boom town, where a mail-order mix-up has everyone scrambling to right an embarrassing mistake—or was it really a blessing? Gallop into Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle wages between an eastern fashion artist and a US Cavalry surgeon for the custody of two orphans. Delight in the journey as faith and romance intersect in these three full-length novels. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch — A bluestocking and a newly minted duke join forces to unravel a mystery…but the greatest mystery might be the duke’s true identity. (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)

Mystery: 

A Bitter Brew by Elizabeth Ludwig — The cousins are thrilled when Jan is invited to compete in a nationally televised baking contest. Things go awry, however, when the prize money disappears. Worse, Jan and Elaine find themselves as the prime suspects! Certain they are being framed, the cousins seek out clues that will lead them to the thief. Can they do it before the contest ends, or will they fall faster than Jan’s award-winning souffle? (Cozy Mystery from Guidepost Publications)

Murder at Madison Square Garden by Linda Shenton Matchett — A private investigator helps a scrappy, female photojournalist, who is accused of murder after an assassination attempt on Charles Lindberg at the America First rally leaves another man dead. (Historical Mystery from Shortwave Press)

Romantic Suspense: 

Explosive Situation by Terri Reed — With his K-9 partner at his side, can he survive false accusations and a bomber? Detective Henry Roarke’s determined to prove his innocence to internal affairs officer Olivia Vance—but first he must survive the bomber targeting him and his bomb-sniffing K-9, Cody. With a coming baby to protect and an investigation to pursue, Olivia has her hands full…until she becomes a target, as well. Can they catch the bomber before they all lose their lives? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

 

Rocky Mountain Revenge by Rhonda Starnes — To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past… Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Suspense:

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks — Forensic sketch artist Tucker Landry and American heiress Piper Boone form a bond after surviving a mass shooting on Curlew Island. Amid rumors of the Curlew Island Curse which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of Piper’s family, the pair must unravel the Boone family’s true history before Piper becomes the next victim. (Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Young Adult: 

Heart of a Princess by Hannah Currie — Behind the smiles and designer clothes, Princess Alina has a secret. She’s barely holding it together. After a moment of panic almost ends in tragedy, Alina is sent to a refuge far from the palace to recuperate. Her family claim it’s for her own good but – faced with cows, knife-beaked ducks and far too many of her own insecurities – Alina is pretty sure it will kill her first. And Joha Samson, infuriating man that he is, will laugh as it does. Only there’s more to Joha than she realizes, and more to herself too. When the time comes to make a stand, will she find the courage? (Young Adult from WhiteFire Publishing)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Before Summer’s End by Johnnie Alexander, Brenda S. Anderson, Eleanor Bertin, Sara Davison, Deb Elkink, Stacy Monson, and Marion Ueckermann, A collection of stories of faith, family, and forgiveness. (General Contemporary)

Honor Bound by Carol Ashby, Honor had forced him to act. Time would tell if he’d regret it. (Historical)

Ralley Point: Place Of Refuge by Daniel Bishop, The Baskins overcome the loss of their unborn child and come to a place of refuge, redemption, restoration. (General Contemporary)

Two Autumns, One Spring by Elizabeth Ann Boyles, A deceitful mother-in-law, Nagasaki’s vengeful official, conflicting beliefs—all work against a near-perfect marriage in 1861 Japan. (Historical)

The Sugar Baron’s Ring by Lorri Dudley, A ring is her only tie to a distant homeland, until a marooned Englishman anchors her heart. (Historical Romance)

Let Him Go by LuAnn K. Edwards, Keedryn and Blake acknowledge their love in this wholesome romance, only to find trouble brewing at the office and turmoil bursting in their hearts. (Contemporary Romance)

Afraid of the Light by Cynthia Ruchti, Clinical psychologist Camille Brooks vows she’ll never let another family suffer from the fallout of a hoarding disorder like her mom’s, but soon discovers that she has her own collection of hurts to confront. (General Contemporary)

Deadly Hideaway by Marissa Shrock, A relaxing getaway. A rocky romance. And a dead body. Will life ever be normal? (Cozy Mystery)

The Cowboy’s Missing Memory by Shannon Taylor Vannatter, He needs to remember and she’s his best hope to help him reclaim his past and build a future. (Contemporary Romance)

The Writing Life — Linore Rose Burkard ( + Giveaway )

Today I’m happy to welcome author Linore Rose Burkard for an interview about the writing life. Read through to the end to find out how to enter her giveaway.

Linore, welcome. Please tell us more about yourself as a writer.  I understand that you feel very purpose-driven in your vocation. How did you come to know your purpose as a writer?

A writer needs to be humble enough to accept what they’re giftings are–and aren’t. It took me awhile to recognize that what I most wanted to write first, was Inspirational, and that it was romance.   To my mind, having been schooled in many of the classics, both British and American, this is a relatively humble calling. Georgette Heyer, a writer I greatly admire, once said she ought to be shot for what she writes. Because there’s this perception among the literati that romance literature is less than respectable.  But Heyer has avid fans all around the globe to this day, though we lost her in 1974. So I had to accept that a) I was not going to be the next Pulitzer Prize winner, and b) wholesome romance is worthy in itself, whether it is overtly evangelistic or not, and whether English professors would agree or not. I believe that all romance begins with a God-given desire to be loved, and not only loved, but loved unconditionally. Besides Heyer, think of all the Jane Austen books and screen adaptations; how grateful are we that she wrote what she did? While I am not comparing myself to Jane, readers have written to me with such gratitude that it really showed me that what I write is no less valuable –to those who will be blessed by it—than the classics.

How did you get started?

I’ve been an avid reader all my life and was always was drawn to write, even as a child. But I saw a need for something specific that wasn’t out there–Regency Romance that included a Christian worldview.  I wanted to read that book, but it didn’t exist.  So that’s what I started out writing. My first three novels published with Harvest House are Inspirational Regencies, and the first one was, to my knowledge, the first of its kind. A genuinely well-researched Regency with a distinctly Christian theme.  The genre since then has grown by leaps and bounds, which I think is great. But after doing that trilogy, I came to believe that my purpose as a writer was broader. I have since written a young adult series in a completely different genre, apocalyptic suspense.  (The Pulse Effex Series). I’ve done a Regency time travel, called Forever, Lately. (Which has turned out to be hugely popular, as well as winning two awards). I’ve written contemporary romance and am now writing a Regency series called The Brides of Mayfair which is for the general market, though it contains implied Christianity.

How does your Young Adult suspense series fit in with your brand?  

So, my brand is “Romance to Warm the Heart;  Fiction to Stir the Soul.” The Pulse Effex Trilogy is in that 2nd category–soul-stirring fiction. It’s about three teens and their families who must survive after a catastrophic EMP (that is, an electromagnetic pulse)  takes down the grid, and all electonics.  It’s like the COVID pandemic times ten; EVERYTHING shuts down—the internet, all technology.  I wrote the series not only because something like this is actually possible, but quite frankly, to stir people out of complacency. We always think the disaster can only happen to someone else.  Our society as a whole—and the COVID pandemic really showed us this—is not prepared for long term disruptions.  So is it soul-stirring? Well, I just got an email from a reader yesterday—and these books have been out for a few years now—that she read the whole trilogy non-stop, which she’d never done before for any series. And that it kept her reading all night long when she should have gone to sleep. Numerous other readers have written to me saying similar things. Many of them have actually changed the way they shop and especially that they’ve started to store food and other supplies , so that if—God forbid—an EMP should happen, they will be better prepared.  The books give a lot of information in the course of the story that people can emulate. I interpret these notes from readers as they’re way of saying that yes, they’ve been soul stirred!

Another word about branding:  I did use only my first initials and last name for the YA series, so that my readers would know at a glance it isn’t my usual “sweet romance”.    So  my romance novels are written under my full name, Linore Rose Burkard, whereas for the  Pulse Series I use L.R. Burkard.

Would you like to give a tip for any writers who may be listening?

It’s important to write the book on your heart, not the one you THINK you SHOULD write because it will make money, or because it’s what people want.  A lot of gurus are out there saying you should research the audience before putting pen to paper to make sure your book will be marketable.  Well, there is some truth in that—if you write a book about some obscure dog breed that only 200 people own, you’re not gonna have  a bestseller. But there’s a big danger in that method, too. The book on your heart, the story that won’t go away, is most likely the one that will help point you to your purpose in writing. It’s probably the one the Lord is directing you to write; and it will be the one that most resonates with other people.

 

GIVEAWAY: Writers aren’t the only ones on a journey of discovery to know their purpose. Tell us, in a sentence or two, what you believe your purpose is, either personally or professionally. Ultimately, we all seek to glorify God, but how do you that? One commenter will win a copy of any of my books. (Print for US only, sorry, and as available.) You can see all my books at this link:   https://www.amazon.com/Linore-Rose-Burkard/e/B001JSC7H6

Or on my website at: http://www.LinoreBurkard.com

Readers can HEAR this interview (a shortened version) live here if they prefer: https://anniejenningspr.com/authorexpertwire/specialty/insights-into-the-writing-life/

 

About Linore

Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes contemporary suspense (The Pulse Effex Series, as L.R. Burkard), contemporary romance (Falling In), and romantic short stories. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.

 

Author Spotlight & Character Interview with Terri Wangard

Today I’m happy to welcome author Terri Wangard for an author spotlight and character interview.

Our guest today is Rosaleen Bonnard, a survivor of the tragic sinking of the Lusitania last May. She traveled with her husband, Geoff, who was badly injured in the disaster. Tell us, Mrs. Bonnard, how is he doing?

He is so much better, thank you. Every day we walk, sometimes for as long as an hour. We’re frequently interrupted though. Geoff collaborated with our neighbor, a reporter for the Sentinel, so he’s well recognized and folks seem to think that having touched the war, he’s now an expert. They’re always asking for his insights.

How did you meet your husband?

We were classmates at school and he invited me to attend an ice cream social at church. When I told my mother he’d asked, she quizzed me about him. I told her it was just ice cream, and she said, “Yes, and your father and I met at a church ice cream social.” After that night, I knew I would marry him.

The Cunard Line upgraded you from second class to first, is that right? [Rosaleen nods.] What was that like for you?

At first, I was thrilled. We had a beautiful stateroom with a window. Oh, excuse me, a porthole. That was special. And we had access to the Saloon Writing Room and Library and the Saloon Lounge and Music Room. They were exquisite. The two-tiered first-class dining room was a gorgeous setting to eat in, but I must admit, I would have been more at ease in second class. I didn’t feel comfortable with the first-class passengers. Even the food was unfamiliar.

Did you go shopping specifically for your voyage?

Oh, yes. Two of my sisters went shopping with me at Gimbels. I found two beautiful gowns. My grandmother gave me $10, making it possible to buy both. Plus a traveling outfit, a couple of new skirts and blouses, shoes, hats. Had I known we’d be in first class, goodness, I don’t know what I would have done. The ladies in first class wear a different gown to dinner every night.

Did you note much panic after the ship was torpedoed?

At first, everyone was stunned. After hearing all week about the likelihood of being attacked, when it actually happened, it was hard to believe. The sudden listing to starboard was alarming. Then the power failed and people were trapped in the fancy grillwork elevator. The lifeboats were so chaotic; some spilled out their passengers or dropped down on other lifeboats. So frightful. The ship sank in eighteen minutes, less time than it takes to bake a cake. So many people were still aboard.

What was it like in the lifeboat?

Numbing, sitting on hard wooden benches. We would have loved fresh drinking water. We pulled in many survivors from the sea, and they were so cold. Many people died from hypothermia. We saw them lose their grip on whatever they clung to and slip under the water.

As 1916 dawns, what are you looking forward to?

We hope the war doesn’t pull in the United States. Geoff and I both have brothers who would be affected. In our own home, we’re busy decorating a nursery.

Congratulations! And thank you for joining us today.

 

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:

  • What is your current work in progress?

In Roll Back the Clouds, Geoff and Rosaleen’s next door neighbors are Peter and Maren Bloch. Peter and Maren are the stars of The Sun Still Shines, which follows them in World War One. Geoff and Rosaleen appear frequently.

  • What would be your dream vacation?

Somewhere on a western Florida beach where there are sea shells. I love shelling.

  • What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

When I was on cruises, I took part in adventures I wouldn’t otherwise have had, like parasailing, helicoptering onto glaciers or around Hawaiian cliffs, horseback riding on the beach, going to the Arctic Circle. Maybe not quirky, but definitely out of the ordinary.

Reader question: Do you like to cruise, or would you like to? What would your destination be?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she writes historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber for her WWII series. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard

Twitter: @terriwangard

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/terriwangard

Instagram: @terriwangard

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

Website: http://www.terriwangard.com

Buy links for your book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1659679842

The Magic of the Written Word — LeAnne Hardy ( + Giveaway )

Today I’m happy to welcome author LeAnne Hardy as she shares some history behind her story and how the magic of the written word had impacted her life.

View of the castle ruin from the fifteenth century house. The window seat is as I have imagined Colin’s mother’s room.

I just finished reading Alix Christie’s Gutenberg’s Apprentice, about the brotherhood who worked under Johann Gutenberg to develop movable type and a printing press to produce flawless copies of Scripture. They were accused of blasphemy, but they changed the world! It’s hard now to imagine a time when the skill of reading was rare and books hard to come by or even dangerous to own.

In my new novel Black Mountain, set in sixteenth century Britain and beyond, Teg is surprised when a man with a flawed body has the power to read. She uses written words as protective amulets. Her charms are in ancient Welsh, but Christians (whom Teg despises) often used Bible verses in the same way. Originally, when someone cast “a spell,” we meant it literally—spelling out the words, writing them down, gave them power. A curse might be written, the ink washed off, and the liquid fed to the enemy as poison, or a blessing used as medicine.

In Black Mountain ol’ Teg o’ the Hills is a witch who has long despised the church and its Christ. When she is forced to flee her mountain for the wider world, Teg meets the Thatcher family that owns a forbidden English Bible. In those days church leaders feared that if common people could read the Bible for themselves, they would get all sorts of ideas, threatening traditional authorities.

In the early sixteenth century William Tyndale translated the New Testament and much of the Old into English without official permission. He was driven out of England to the continent where he lived in hiding. Gutenberg’s Bible was huge, printed in Latin on large sheets of paper or vellum. Seventy-five years later Tyndale had his Bible printed on tissue-thin paper with tiny print. The small format made the Bibles easier to smuggle into England and hide. You could be arrested as a heretic for owning one, but ordinary people like my characters, the Thatchers, and their neighbors were hungry to read the Word of God for themselves in a language they understood.

In 1536 Tyndale was betrayed, arrested, convicted as a heretic, strangled at the stake and his body burned. Yet three years later King Henry VIII had an authorized version printed. Largely Tyndale’s translation, it was known as the Great Bible for its size. A law proclaimed that every church must own one.

One Bible.

For the whole church.

Before that law, people didn’t even have that.

How I take for granted my freedom to read, including my freedom to read the Bible. I have various translations at my fingertips on my device and computer, where I can sync my notes and underlinings and link quickly to various commentaries. No one looks over my shoulder to see what I read. No one threatens me because I read in the language of my heart. Historical fiction from the early days of the Reformation reminds me of the magic of the written word and all I have to be thankful for.

Drawing:

The margins of the Bible my father used when he was in bed with tuberculosis for three years in the 1940s are crammed with notes—a reminder of my spiritual heritage. Is there a Bible that is special to you? Tell us about it in the comments and we will include you in a drawing for a free copy of Black Mountain. (Electronic only if you live outside the US) Comment yesterday and today to double your chances.

 

About LeAnne

Bio: LeAnne Hardy has lived as a missionary librarian in six countries on four continents. Her inspirational fiction comes out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives. Click here to hear her speak about the significance of King Arthur in her spiritual formation and read from the first two books. Links to first chapters of all her books can be found here.

Links:

Amazon.com

Website: LeAnne Hardy, author and editor

Blog: My Times and Places

Facebook: Birch Island Books

Fascinating Sixteenth Century – LeAnne Hardy ( + Giveaway )

Today I’m happy to welcome author LeAnne Hardy as she shares how she got the idea for her series. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter her giveaway.

Father Dunstan turned his face toward the steeply rising Tor. ìLike a pilgrimage to Jerusalem!î he said. (p. 87)

Ever since reading Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and hearing the Broadway recording of the musical Camelot in high school, I have loved all things King Arthur. Mary Stewart’s series, beginning with The Crystal Cave, shaped my concept of my own faith as I saw Arthur as a type of Christ, the great King to whom I owed my full devotion.

On a trip to England my husband and I visited Glastonbury, the traditional site of Avalon where Arthur received his sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake and where he went for the healing of his wounds following his last battle. From there (according to legend) he will return at Britain’s greatest hour of need. Sound familiar?

For almost a thousand years a Christian monastery was located at the foot of Glastonbury Tor, a strange conical hill, reported to hold the gate to the Celtic underworld. King Henry VIII closed that monastery and all the others in England as part his reformation of the church—more an excuse to divorce Queen Katherine who had failed to give him a son than any doctrinal commitment. The final days of the monastery were full of drama, and on that visit to Glastonbury, a story began to form in my mind that had little to do with King Arthur!

In Glastonbury Tor, book one in the resulting Glastonbury Grail series, Colin flees home after trying to kill his abusive father. In the abbey treasury he discovers an ancient olivewood cup that just might be the Holy Grail, brought from Jerusalem by Jesus’ tin merchant uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The cup reveals the power and glory of God in those tumultuous days as the king attempts to crush the abbey. In book two, Honddu Vale, Colin returns home to reconcile with his father, but the cup remains dull and empty as Colin experiences God’s silence and his father shows no sign of repentance. At the end of the book, an old witch pulls the cup from the ruins of a fire.

When I wrote that final scene, I meant it as a suggestion that Colin’s faith had grown to a point where he no longer needed the physical manifestation of God’s presence. But one of my readers wrote, “I can’t wait to find out what God is going to do with Teg.” The more I thought about it, the more excited I got about writing the witch’s story.

Black Mountain, book three in the Glastonbury Grail series and my most ambitious work yet, released June 1. The series is carefully researched historical fiction. Glastonbury Tor was a finalist for a Christy Award in that category. But you will love how the supernatural is made real as God pursues his wayward daughter.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Ol’ Teg o’ the Hills is determined to master this thing of power, but it may master her.

Teg has the cup that Colin Hay brought back to Wales from Glastonbury Abbey in England. When the Grandmother spirit she has served since childhood rejects both the cup and Teg, the old witch sets off on a journey to find the origins of the cup and learn the secret of its power.

Alice Thatcher is eager to wed her Colin. When the old woman she knows as Goody Tegwyn appears in Meare, Alice takes her under her wing and adopts her as the mother she has never known. Alice loves Colin with all her heart, but love may not be enough to fulfill her duties as the wife of a gentleman. How far will Alice go to give Colin an heir? When Goody Tegwyn returns to Honddu Vale, can Alice save her from her enemies?

Drawing:

If you were forced to flee, where would you go? Comment below to be included in a drawing for a free copy of Black Mountain. (Electronic only if you live outside the US) Come back tomorrow to find out more about the role of books and the skill of writing in this story and comment again to double your chances.

About LeAnne

Bio: LeAnne Hardy has lived as a missionary librarian in six countries on four continents. Her inspirational fiction comes out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives. Click here to hear her speak about the significance of King Arthur in her spiritual formation and read from the first two books. Links to first chapters of all her books can be found here.

Links:

Amazon.com

Website: LeAnne Hardy, author and editor

Blog: My Times and Places

Facebook: Birch Island Books

 

 

 

 

Author Spotlight with Davalynn Spencer ( + Giveaway )

Today I’m happy to welcome author Davalynn Spencer for an author spotlight and giveaway.

  • When did you first discover that you were a writer?

In the sixth grade, my teacher gave the class a story-writing assignment to which I latched on like a bucket calf. We had bucket calves at the ranch, which is why I use the analogy, though my story was not at all farm or ranch related. It was a science-fiction story about an alien that came to earth looking for a mate.

Scary, I know.

It was my first and last sci-fi.

But the teacher liked it enough to have me read it to the entire gathering of sixth graders one evening during our week-long stay at a science/conservation camp. All the other students in my class participated in “commercial” skits in between my chapters, and I believe that was the true entertainment for the evening.

  • Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Romance has always played a big part in what I like to read and still does. (Maybe it was the whole alien/human thing from sixth grade.) I enjoy reading both historical and contemporary tales, suspense, mystery, women’s fiction, time-slip, etc., just so there is a strong romantic thread.

I read Westerns written by authors like Louis L’Amour and Stan Lynde because I want to learn how cowboys talk and think or used to talk and think back in the Old West. I pretty much know how they talk and think today because I married one and gave birth to another.

  • How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I’ve heard about sanity. I’ve heard it was a state of mind in which one does not talk to imaginary people living in their head who wake them in the middle of the night with story ideas and confuse themselves with real people. If that is the case, I am not at all sane, so I’ll simply address how I fit all that I do into “regular life.”

A basic day begins with a mile walk (unless the wind is blowing, and then I stay inside and exercise with a woman on television). I spend time with the Lord every morning, reading a devotional book or delving into a personal study of specific scriptures. My prayer time involves listening, but not as much as it should. I do a lot of asking too.

After breakfast, I go to my desk with the goal of beginning my workday at 9 a.m. I usually hit that mark and sometimes beat it by an hour. I take intermittent breaks to make sure the blood is still flowing through my legs and brain, run errands, pull a few weeds, chop a little kindling (depending on the season), and check on my companions Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. By 6 p.m. I’m fried and retire to the sofa for supper and a good book (see the previous question).

On more pain-oriented days, I tackle such monsters as marketing, promoting, letter writing, bookkeeping, etc. but I much prefer the creative side of writing which involves, well, writing.

By Sunday I am ready for that Sabbath rest we read about in the Bible, and I’m quite fond of it. I think God knew what He was talking about.

Reader question: During our recent stay-at-home challenge due to the virus, what was one thing you resorted to as an encouraging, personal activity that you would like to continue doing once things get back to so-called normal?

I will give a randomly selected commenter an e-book copy of my latest release and Book 3 of the Front Range Brides series, An Impossible Price.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction, Davalynn Spencer is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. When she’s not writing Western romance, she teaches writing workshops and wrangles Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Connect with her at www.davalynnspencer.com.

Book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088KTZKMP/

Author links:

Quarterly Newsletter sign-up and free e-book: http://eepurl.com/xa81D

Blog: http://davalynnspencer.com/subscribe/

Website: http://www.davalynnspencer.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davalynnspencer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5051432.Davalynn_Spencer

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/davalynnspencer/boards/

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/Davalynn-Spencer/e/B002EZUEZK

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/davalynn-spencer

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Page 1 of An Impossible Price:

CHAPTER 1

OLIN SPRINGS, COLORADO

Late March 1885

The bay stallion pawed at the stock-car wall and tossed its head. Quick as a rattlesnake, its back leg struck. A partition splintered, sending wood fragments showering over crates and barrels.

The horse had fought its constraints for the last four hours—all the way from Denver. It was only a matter of time before the battle between bolted wood and brute strength was decided. Clay’s money was on the horse.

The rhythmic clack of iron wheels began to drag, and Clay pushed to his feet, bracing against the louvered wall of the car. Already heavy with horse sweat and manure, the air thickened at the screech of steel on steel, fear tainting the mix. A long blast of the whistle drew his horse’s ears forward.

It won’t be long now, Duster. We’re almost home.”

His buckskin’s dark eye widened with uncertainty. Its shoulder and leg muscles bunched for balance. Clay took hold of the rope that tethered the gelding and rubbed its neck and shoulder, telegraphing calm.

A general stock car wasn’t his first choice for either himself or his horse, but the Denver & Rio Grande had nothing else for livestock. He’d chosen the speed of a train over the length of the trail between Kansas City and Colorado, but he’d refused to ride with human passengers and risk injury—or worse—to his unattended horse. The bay stallion was a perfect example of why.

The car jerked against its couplings, sending a nearby horse to its knees. Billowing steam hissed along the rails, and the train inched toward a full stop. Olin Springs. Clay eased out a tight hiss of his own. They weren’t off the train in one piece yet.

Memories of his first arrival rose like smoke from the stack—riding into town beaten, broke, and bitter. His outlook now was a whole lot better than it had been four years ago.

Expectation rippled through him, as well as the mixed bunch of horseflesh tethered to rings on the walls. Clay had secured a forward corner, farthest from the stallion and somewhat protected with the outer wall on one side and a flimsy partition on the other.

Anticipating the slide of the car door, he untied Duster and turned him to face daylight. Behind them, the stallion reared against its rope. Any minute now.

Freight crewmen slid the door wide, and Clay led his horse down the stock ramp into sunshine and fresh air. They’d been too long cooped up.

As they hit solid earth, a panicked whinny sent a chill up Clay’s neck. He looked for someone to hold his horse and took a chance on an older boy in tall boots.

Hold him steady and I’ll make it worth your while. And get back out of the way.”

Living Our Past – Author Spotlight with Kate Breslin ( + Giveaway )

Today I’m happy to welcome author Kate Breslin as she shares about her latest release, Far Side of the Sea. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter to win the giveaway.

Up close and personal” is a commonly used phrase and one very meaningful for me while writing my latest historical novel, Far Side of the Sea. As with my previous novels, Not By Sight and High As The Heavens, I spent years researching the first world war. I’d memorized dates and places names of battles fought and read first-hand accounts of the soldiers living in trenches on the Western Front, facing “No Man’s Land”—stretches of battlefield so devastated by artillery that only cratered holes of soupy mud remained to serve as watery graves. Skirmishes fought, which resulted in short-won victories and losses for both sides and in the middle, civilians, enduring four years of suffering all of the hardships war has to offer and the occasional miracles that marked their incredible lives.

It was during the research for my most recent novel that my mom asked me to do some genealogical digging into the life of my great-uncle George. She’d come to possess her uncle’s Purple Heart medal after his brother—her father, my grandfather—had passed away and knew he’d served in WWI somewhere in the infantry.

With writing deadlines, I admit to working on her request at a snail’s pace, but eventually through information I found online, I discovered he’d served in the Wisconsin National Guard in 1916 and was sent to the Mexican border that same year to defend against the famous revolutionary Pancho Villa and his men, who had stormed Columbus, New Mexico, killing nearly twenty Americans. A year later the US entered WWI in April of 1917 and the president recalled the guardsmen, transferring their ranks to the infantry. Now I was getting really interested! I decided to contact the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and was excited to learn they would send me copies of whatever service records they could find for George. When their packet arrived weeks later, I tore into it and began poring over the contents. I’d practically lived in WWI over the past few years, so to be able to recognize the places my great-uncle had fought, some which I’d written for my own fictional story character—became a personal experience for me that brought me to tears. He’d been wounded during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive near Verdun, the place of a famous battle and one which earned him the Purple Heart. I was also grateful to learn he’d survived the war to return home and live to a ripe old age, as many others were not so fortunate.

Needless to say, my mom was delighted with the information and she’s allowed me to be the steward of my great-uncle’s medal, which now sits in a place of honor. It reminds me that we are all connected to the past; and sometimes, those places and times we read about in history can leave a very personal imprint on us. Another reason why I enjoy writing in this genre.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:

What genre(s) do you write in and why? I chose to write historical romance because I’ve always enjoyed reading love stories set in the days of knights and kings and swashbuckling pirates. My desire to write wartime fiction in particular came with the creation of my first published novel, For Such A Time, a retelling of the Biblical Book of Esther set in WWII. During my research I was inspired reading about ordinary people who in crisis did the extraordinary, even risking their lives to save others. With my subsequent novels, including my latest, Far Side of the Sea, I’ve explored the history of the Great War from 1914-1918, a part of our past just now coming to light after the recent WWI centennial. In fact there are so many fascinating accounts to read about during this time that I have plans to write two more novels set in the era.

What is your favorite part of writing? I’m very much a visual person, so creating a storyboard on Pinterest is one of my favorite aspects of writing! I also love the research, which helps me to plot out my stories. It’s exciting to come across an obscure, interesting nugget of history that sparks my imagination—like carrier pigeons being used in espionage during WWI, which I wrote about in my latest novel, Far Side of the Sea.

What is your “go to” routine that helps you get in the mood to write? Special beverage? Music? On my most productive days, I sit down at my computer at 10:00 a.m. with a cup of Earl Grey tea. No music, as I find it distracting, and after checking email and social media for anything pressing, I “unplug” until lunch. Each day, I start by re-reading the last few pages I’d written the day before, making minor corrections, and it’s enough to put my head back into the story. I write six to seven hours daily, 4-5 days a week. I admit to being a perfectionist so I tend to edit as I go and that means my first drafts take longer. I’m also a plotter, so I like having an outline before I start a new story, but I keep things fluid. Changes always occur, and I’ve noticed my characters sometimes take a different view of the story than I do.

Readers, answer her question below to enter the giveaway for a chance to win “Far Side of the Sea”.

I’m considering the next time period to write in for a new series of books. What is your favorite historical timeline?

ABOUT THE BOOK

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life–a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives.

 

About Kate:

Author Kate Breslin lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she enjoys spending time with her husband and family. She also loves reading, writing, hiking, and traveling to new places for the next story idea. Kate’s WWII debut novel, For Such A Time, received ACFW’s 2015 Carol Award, and her fourth novel, Far Side of the Sea, released with Bethany House Publishers in March of 2019. Please visit www.katebreslin.com/books to read an except!

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 C H A P T E R 1

Hastings, Britain, April 9, 1918

He was suffocating.

Trapped beneath several feet of earth, he tried to claw his way through the dirt and rubble to reach the blue sky above. His starving lungs screamed for air, the torn flesh beneath his broken fingernails bleeding into the soil as he scrabbled toward the surface. The agony in his chest grew unbearable, yet darkness continued to swallow him, the heavens overhead always beyond his grasp. Futility settled over him. He would die here, in this place. Buried alive . . .

Colin awoke with a start. Chest heaving, his sweat-soaked body gave an involuntary shudder. The nightmare was always the same; even using both of his hands, he could never reach the precious blue sky. A sharp rap echoed at the door. Dawn’s gray light filtered through his bedroom window in the cramped seaside flat as he rolled toward his nightstand to turn on the lamp. Blinking against the sudden brightness, he stared at the clock. 0530 . . .The next knock accompanied a hesitant male voice. “Lieutenant Mabry?”

Credit: Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin, 2019. Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing.