Writers’ Clubs — Thonie Hevron

Today I’m happy to welcome author Thonie Hevron as she shares about writers’ clubs.

I would still be wandering the authorial stratosphere if I hadn’t found Redwood Writers. I’d written a book—a thriller set in my former home, Sonoma County. I penned By Force or Fear while I lived on the other side of California, while missing Sonoma County so much that I set my story there. It was my way of coping with homesickness.

In 2004, my husband and I finally came home to SoCo. When I moved, I lost the manuscript. Later, I was lucky to find the outline on a thumb drive. I re-wrote the story and it was even better than before! Soon after, in the local newspaper, hubby found a writers group called JumpStart that met in our town. It’s leader, Pat Tyler, introduced me to reading my work in a group. She also fostered my scribblings, steering me to the local chapter of the California Writers Club—Redwood Writers.

Finding a group of dedicated writers who encourage each other was a huge step forward in my writing process. Under their superlative leadership, I attended club sponsored classes, workshops, and panels. Each monthly meeting has an hour-long teaching session as well—featuring different topics such as the business of writing, craft tips, promotion, marketing and social media.

From all this input, I was able to formulate a plan. Roughly it looked like this: write, write, write, query, learn, write, speak, blog, learn some more. I mapped out my next novel in outline form. After all, I’m a retired law enforcement veteran and structure such as this helps me keep track of all the strands of my story. While I worked on my story, I found a critique group, Thrillerz. After joining Redwood Writers, this was the best thing I could’ve done.

Over the course of these meetings, I realized that I needed to build a platform. I knew I had to expand my audience, but the term marketing struck terror in my heart. After all, I was a writer—solitary, shy, withdrawn from the general population. But wait, no, I wasn’t solitary. I had Redwood Writers, then the Public Safety Writers Association, then, Sisters in Crime. Redwood Writers hosted (still does) bi-monthly salons for authors to read their work to each other. The intent was to dip writers’ toes in the swamp of public speaking. There also were Open Mics held at several different venues (all of which I participated in) and an annual member book launch for 10-12 RW authors to debut their books.

I did the above but felt I needed more. So, I volunteered to co-chair a Redwood Writers’ Conference in 2014. The lead up to the event was where the rubber met the road: I attended every monthly club meeting to publicize the conference. Yes, I got up in front of a crowd of 75 or so people and made announcements. I’m by no means OVER my stage fright but I can certainly manage it. I’ve even tackled some other, unrelated fears such as driving over bridges.

To date, I’ve written four books, with three published. I’ve just signed with a new small press publisher, Aakenbaaken & Kent who’s committed to re-pubbing all three books and the new manuscript under construction. I’ve also conquered challenges that had held me back over the years. I owe it all to Redwood Writers.

Who knew what doors a good writers club would open?



After 35 years in California law enforcement, Thonie Hevron uses her experience to write suspense novels based on the lives of the people behind the badge. She is retired and lives with her husband in the historic Northern California town of Petaluma. Thonie blogs stories (https://thoniehevron.wordpress.com/) from law enforcement veterans to portray the police character accurately and give authors and the public insight into why cops do what they do. Her two police procedural thrillers, By Force or Fear (set in Sonoma County) and Intent to Hold won awards in the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) Writers Contest in 2012 and 2014. The third book, called With Malice Aforethought (also set in Sonoma County) won 2016 PSWA Writers Contest (unpublished novel, 2nd place) and the East Texas Writers Guild 2015 First Chapter Award. For further information, go to www.thoniehevron.com for appearance dates.



July 2018 New Releases!

July 2018 New Releases

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


Contemporary Romance:

A Widow’s Hope by Vannetta Chapman — After tragedy claimed her husband’s life and her son’s ability to walk, Hannah King doesn’t want a new man. She has her family, a home and mounting debts. Scarred Amish bachelor Jacob Schrock offers Hannah the job she desperately needs. But while Hannah helps Jacob resolve his accounting issues, can she and her little boy also heal his wounded heart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton — Bridget Behr can’t shake the guilt that it was her fault her family moved—and is too afraid to trust anyone, especially the flirtatious, overly-friendly Amish man who lives next door. Just as Bridget is finally settling into friendship, a new life, and maybe even love, a devastating forest fire ravages the county, destroying both land and the Behrs’ dreams. Now Bridget and her family must decide: will they leave behind the ashes and start anew in another Amish community? Or will they dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

General Contemporary:

Ride to the Altar by Linda W. Yezak — Cattle are dying on the Circle Bar, putting the Texas ranch in financial jeopardy. Newly engaged Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must root out the cause before they can concentrate on wedding plans—which involves Patricia’s traveling to New York to patch things up with her domineering mother. While she is away, Talon discovers that the attacks on the ranch are connected to the murder of his first fiancée over eight years ago. Before they can move forward together, each have to resolve the past. Will they be able to start their new life with a clean slate? (General Contemporary from Canopy Books of Texas)

General Historical:

My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Dodging bullets takes a simple missing person case to a new level as Jonah Cahill, a Pinkerton agent, and Madeline Latour, an investigative reporter, form a tentative truce in Galveston, Texas, 1880. Are they on to a much bigger story when their best witness is suddenly kidnapped? (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)

Historical Mystery:

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright — Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Historical Romance:

This Freedom Journey by Misty M. Beller — Adrien Lockman left France to finally live life on his own terms, but when he discovers a half-starved and half-frozen woman in the treacherous Canadian mountains, the truth soon becomes clear—the only way they’ll survive is together. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Widow’s Plight by Mary Davis — After moving to a new town and joining a quilting circle, a single mother steps out of the shadows of abuse and into the sunshine. But will a secret clouding her past cost her the man she loves? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart — Orphaned during an early 19th century cholera epidemic and helped by a slave to find a new home, Adria Starr must now stand up for his freedom—and maybe find her own in the process. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano — A young heiress is suddenly the poorest wealthy woman in all of England when her father dies without telling anyone where he put his money. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])


Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Ludwig — A mysterious key hidden in the depths of an ancient lighthouse unlocks family secrets hidden for generations. (Cozy Mystery from Guideposts Publications)

Guarded Prognosis by Richard L. Mabry — At first Dr. Caden Taggart feared for his freedom, then for his ability to cope, and eventually he feared for his life. (Medical Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll — When Adelaide Fountaine, the general manager of a hotel in New Orleans, finds the body of a guest who was stabbed with a kitchen knife, her childhood friend Detective Beau Savoie is shocked to discover a connection between his friend–the woman he’s quietly loved for years—and the murdered guest. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . because he’s keeping secrets of his own. Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose? (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)

Camp Hope by Sara L. Foust — Facing dehydration, starvation, and a convoluted kidnapper, will Amy succeed in recovering her precious foster daughter or get lost in a vast wilderness forever? (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey — Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to join an elite team of terrorist hunters. Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he’s back, asking her help to stop America’s newest terrorist threat—an attack that would shake the country to its core. Together they must navigate secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next mark? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Young Adult:

Launch by Jason C. Joyner — Teens with special abilities are invited to an exclusive conference where tech billionaire Simon Mazor is looking for those who can help him influence the world. (Young Adult from Little Lamb Books)

Carola Dunn — Author Spotlight

Today I’m happy to welcome author Carola Dunn for an author spotlight.

I was born and grew up in England, but I’ve lived in the US for many years, presently in Oregon. However, the 60 or so books I’ve written over the past 40 years are mostly set in England.

I started with Regencies—Having read all Georgette Heyer’s several times, I wanted more, so I decided to write one myself and was lucky enough to find an editor who loved it. Toblethorpe Manor came out in 1981 and is still selling as an ebook. I had around 20 Regencies out when both my publishers stopped publishing the genre. That was when I switched to mysteries, which I’d always loved (Later I wrote another dozen Regencies).

I have two mystery series, 4 Cornish mysteries and the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries, set in the 1920s, of which the 23rd comes out in July. Both series are “traditional,” the term I prefer though they’re often called cozies.

In the latest, The Corpse at the Crystal Palace, set in 1928, Daisy takes her family to visit one of the sights of London. Chaos ensues as the 3-year-old twins’ nanny disappears while Daisy’s teenage stepdaughter and her two young cousins fail to turn up at the rendezvous. And then Daisy, hunting for them, discovers a body… The local police investigate, and Daisy hopes her husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, will never find out that she’s involved. No such luck!

Sic Transit Gloria

When I first considered setting my 23rd Daisy Dalrymple mystery at the Crystal Palace, I knew very little about it, no more than that it was a huge building constructed almost entirely of glass and had been a London landmark for many years. Having grown up outside London, I didn’t even realize it no longer existed.

However, it was still a going concern in Daisy’s time—the 1920s. As often happens once I’ve settled on a site for murder, the plot began to weave itself in my mind.

The Crystal Palace was originally erected in Hyde Park for the 1851 Great Exhibition. More than five football fields long, it was crammed with the products of the world, natural and manufactured, especially those of the British Empire. It also featured sculpture and the architecture of earlier civilizations, and a large concert hall. Queen Victoria often attended concerts there.

In 1852, at the end of the Exhibition, it had to be demolished. An entrepreneur saved it and rebuilt it on a hill in South London, with two wings added. It was so big, the sun glinting from the glass roof could be seen from Hampstead Heath, miles away in North London, near Daisy’s home. Its landscaped grounds had lakes and fountains, a football ground, and an arena for motor rallies, fireworks, and such spectacles as jousting knights in armour. It remained so popular, a new railway line was provided to serve it.

In 1876, a fire destroyed part of one new wing. Rebuilding plans were shelved as the Palace, now more of an amusement park, began to lose its appeal. Business was still limping along when the Great War started. With its large building and plenty of room for practising maneuvers, the Crystal Palace was requisitioned to billet troops. Inevitably the exhibits suffered and upkeep was neglected.

At the end of the war, the Imperial War Museum took over the Palace for a few years. When they moved out in 1924, the Palace was bankrupt and huge sums were needed to clear up the mess and renovate the structure and its contents.

Somehow the funds were found. By the time Daisy took her family there for an outing in 1928, restoration was well underway, though not yet completed. In spite of a couple of closed displays, there was plenty to keep everyone occupied—until Daisy discovered the body of a nanny in the ladies’ loo.

Why the loo, of all places? In the course of my research, I had learned that the Crystal Palace had the first “ladies’ conveniences” in London. Though not actually mentioned in the book the fact was irresistible, sparking the entire plot. What sort of person would choose such an odd place to commit murder? And why? Whom did the murderer kill, and what took the victim to the Crystal Palace in the first place?

The answers to those questions led Daisy and her husband Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard into an investigation that ended in a desperate race across London to save the life of an innocent man.

After being closed for a few days fictionally), the Crystal Palace survived Daisy’s exploits for another 8 years before it burned to the ground one night in a spectacular fire, perhaps the greatest entertainment of its existence. Nothing is left today but the foundations, the elegant underground station (putting the gloria in transit, you might say), and the extensive park.

Oh, and the monsters at the bottom of the gardens, which you can read about here: https://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/search?q=carola+dunn.



Buy link:


A casual outing to the Crystal Palace in London takes a mysterious and murderous turn in The Corpse at the Crystal Palace, the latest mystery in Carola Dunn’s beloved Daisy Dalrymple series.

April 1928: Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is visited in London by her young cousins. On the list of must-see sites is the Crystal Palace. Discovering that her children’s nanny, Nanny Gilpin, has never seen the Palace, Daisy decides to make a day of it―bringing her cousins, her 3-year-old twins, her step-daughter Belinda, the nurserymaid, and Nanny Gilpin. Yet this ordinary outing goes wrong when Mrs. Gilpin goes off to the ladies’ room and fails to return. When Daisy goes to look for her, she doesn’t find her nanny but instead the body of another woman dressed in a nanny’s uniform.

Meanwhile, Belinda and the cousins spot Mrs. Gilpin chasing after yet another nanny. Intrigued, they trail the two through the vast Crystal Palace and into the park. After briefly losing sight of their quarry, they stumble across Mrs. Gilpin lying unconscious in a small lake inhabited by huge concrete dinosaurs.

When she comes to, Mrs. Gilpin can’t remember what happened after leaving the twins in the nurserymaid’s care. Daisy’s husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the murdered nanny. Worried about her children’s own injured nanny, Daisy is determined to help. First she has to discover the identity of the third nanny, the presumed murderer, and to do so, Daisy must uncover why the amnesic Mrs. Gilpin deserted her charges to follow the missing third nanny.




Carola Dunn is the author of 23 Daisy Dalrymple mysteries, set in England in the 1920s, 4 Cornish mysteries, and 32 Regencies. Born and brought up in England, she set off around the world after university and ended up in the US, where she has lived for many years, presently in Oregon. She has one son and two grandchildren, and a dog, Trillian, with whom she walks every morning by the Willamette River.






First page of The Corpse at the Crystal Palace:

The Corpse at the Crystal Palace
Chapter One

“Mrs. Fletcher, my lady.”

“Daisy darling,” Lucy said languidly, not rising from the Empire chaise-longue where she reclined. Her slender figure was draped in a peach silk negligée adorned with a froth of lace, oddly incongruous with her dark, sleek bob.

“Hello, darling.” Daisy pulled off her gloves. “It’s filthy out.” She trod carefully across the Aubusson. Her shoes were damp though she had only crossed the pavement from the taxi and had wiped her feet vigorously on entering the house. Even in St James’s, the streets could not be kept clear of snow and slush.

“Too divine of you to come struggling through the knee-high drifts.”

“Not quite that bad, though I think there’s more to come. Three inches is a lot for London in March, and of course we have more up in Hampstead. It’s beautiful, but messy. Your note sounded urgent, darling. What’s up? Are you ill? You’re never ill.”

“I’ll tell you in a minute.”

The door to the boudoir opened again, to admit the butler with a tray of coffee and biscuits. As he arranged it on a low table beside the chaise longue, Daisy looked round the room. Lucy had had the downstairs rooms of the Georgian town house done over in the latest Art Deco style, but here, in her private room, mellow antiquity reigned. It contrasted also with her strictly utilitarian studio and darkroom in the basement.

Over the satinwood bureau hung a photographic portrait of Gerald, Lucy’s husband. It was surrounded by the original photos she had taken for the book of follies she and Daisy had produced together. Daisy was sure the display was symbolic, but whether of the folly of men or the folly of women entrusting their lives to men, she had never asked.

The warmth of the central heating was supplemented by glowing coals in the grate. Daisy took off her gloves and scarf, stuffed them in her pockets, and unbuttoned her coat.

“Aargh,” moaned Lucy. Clapping her hand to her mouth, she jumped up, sped to the door, and disappeared.

Peggy Blann Phifer — Author Spotlight ( + GIVEAWAY)

Today I’m happy to welcome author Peggy Blann Phifer for an author spotlight.

— What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write Romantic Suspense, which is what I like to read. I also write Women’s Fiction, another of my favorite reads.

— What is your “go to” routine that helps you get in the mood to write? Special beverage? Music? Etc.

Coffee! And I love to have soft background music on Pandora … only instrumental … and I am a terrible ‘snacker,’ which makes a mess of my keyboard.

— Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?

I am under contract to write a series of novellas, also for Forget Me Not Romances. I’ve just started this series, so there’s no projected publish date yet.

Readers, answer the following question to enter the giveaway for one free copy of Whispering Hope, either print (US only) or eBook (Kindle) –

What is your favorite genre to read?


1930 Chicago is no place for a Wisconsin country girl.

Virginia Hopewell visits her cousin in Chicago and gets caught up in a deadly gangster shooting at a speakeasy, barely escaping with her life. After learning of the tragic death of her father, brother, and sister-in-law, Ginny returns to Wisconsin and convinces her mother to reopen the resort her father had closed after losing everything in the stock market crash in 1929.

Ransom Blake, an agent with the Chicago Bureau of Prohibition, had been at the same speakeasy acting on a tip about the shooting. Rance is charged with finding the gangster responsible. He and his team are sent to Wisconsin where the man was reported being seen, and to investigate how illegal liquor from Canada is making its way to Chicago.

With the opening of Whispering Hope Resort, Rance registers as a guest and comes face to face with the lovely redhead he’d briefly encountered at the speakeasy during the shooting.

Title: Whispering Hope
Publishers; Forget Me Not Romances
Release Date: May 2018
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense – Stand alone

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peggy Blann Phifer

Author Peggy Blann Phifer, a retired executive assistant after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale Industry, lives in the ‘boonies’ of NW Wisconsin. A late bloomer, Peg didn’t start taking writing seriously until age fifty.

Her debut novel, To See the Sun, a contemporary romantic suspense, released in January 2012. A second novel, Somehow, Christmas Will Come, contemporary women’s fiction with a touch of romance and mystery, released in November 2014, revised and re-released in late 2015. A new work titled Whispering Hope, an historical romantic suspense, set during the years of Prohibition, released in early May, 2018. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies over the past five years.

Peg is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, Peg enjoys reading, blogging, and sharing her home with her daughter, son-in-law, and a Border Collie mix dog named Rocky.

Blog/website: http://whispersinpurple.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pegphifer
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/pegphifer
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pegphifer
Google+: http://plus.google.com/+AuthorPeggyBlannPhifer/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/pbphifer
Email: pbphifer@centurylink.net
Purchase link for Whispering Hope: https://amzn.to/2KURU8x


Behind the Scenes in “A Flute in the Willows” — Carole Brown

Today I’m happy to welcome author Carole Brown as she shares behind the scenes in A Flute in the Willows.

Do you have a favorite military picture of a loved one?

Mine begin with my mother’s tales of living through WWII and the pictures I saw. The romance, bravery, fashions, vocabulary, the shows and music, so much nostalgia—all of it fostered a love of this period. Research was an interesting and learning experience.


When you play with danger, you’d better have a backbone of steel, a fortitude that gets you through the best and worst of situations. Sometimes it can be routine actions, but at other times, danger is in-your-face. You’re living in serious conditions, playing at being someone you’re not, loving the thought that you’re living on the edge and beating the chances.

From: A Flute in the Willows

Chapter 1


Jerry Patterson stared out the yawning black hole in the side of the plane. Seconds to go before he dropped. Night time parachuting was always a risky thing, but the pilot was one of the best who’d keep this baby right on target, lessening the chances he’d have to hit water. Trees were another matter, but with any kind of luck, the landing would go smooth.

Then to meet his contact and move into the German military high life. His pulse revved up. It was a dangerous game he was about to play.


In my WWII Spies series, I focus on spies serving the U.S.

In the second book, A Flute in the Willows, Jerry Patterson, is recruited to head to Germany. There he not only is able to fulfill the request from his government, but come in contact with danger and an injury that almost took his life. Only God and his wife were able to draw him back to his self after he returns to America.

From: A Flute in the Willows

Chapter 2


You have brought the names?” Rhoderick leaned forward, the fat cigar dangling from his fingers.

Of course. Would I be here otherwise?”

Come. Give them to me.” Rhoderick’s face lit with a fiery fanaticism.

Jerry held his breath. The names. What he’d risked everything to find.


You wouldn’t think romance would play a part in being a spy, but sometimes it does. Wives, girlfriends, and new friends that tie into a spy’s life—all of these relationships allow romance to blossom…and increase the danger.

From: A Flute in the Willows

Chapter 11


With a jerk, Jerry pulled her tight against his body, his arms wrapped around her. He could feel the tension leaving her body, felt the moment she leaned into him, and tears choked his throat. How he loved this woman.

Her wild mop of hair tickled his chin as she rubbed her head against his chest, and he almost picked her up to gallop home with her.

And once again, his acute memory sprang to life. He couldn’t. He couldn’t gallop anywhere. And he’d already made that unspoken promise to her to let her go. Give her, her freedom.

Knowledge and Secrets!

…that you steal, that you know, when no one else does—this is your job description. Knowledge that you can share…or hide. Information that most times is important and for which is highly prized with monetary and other valuable items as rewards.

Secrets are sought after and then shared with the person desiring to know them. In the case of countries and agencies, it’s important NOT to share them. In the case of spies, it’s important to find them and share.

From: A Flute in the Willows

Chapter 2


He knew now he’d have to make his move tonight and time it just right. If Rhoderick got hold of the list before him—well, it would be virtually impossible to retrieve it.

Advantages and Punishment!

Living overseas and/or on home soil can be advantageous and profitable. It’s alluring to many spies to live in beautiful countries and homes, enjoy social privileges, and to have the best when, if left in their home countries, life might never reach that plateau of pleasure.

From Biblical Times until day’s world, countries and groups have had their spies. Some on home soil and some serving overseas. Some spies are well known and some of whom may never be known. Many are successful for years, passing on information and secrets, receiving vast sums of money while others receive little or no pay. But the price if caught?

  • Disgrace

  • Prison

  • Death, at times

From: A Flute in the Willows

Chapter 3


He could hear the pounding of footsteps and the occasional shouts, and estimated Rhoderick only seconds behind them. He hoped Vanda knew what she was doing. Rhoderick might spare his sister’s life, but for Medwin, treason wouldn’t sit well with a high ranking German official like Rhoderick. Other than a deep desire for all the torture Rhoderick could pour out, he couldn’t imagine anything but instant death for himself.

Romance, nostalgia, bravery, loyalty, hardiness, determination and eagerness clearly marks these years as an important time in our history. We can’t afford to forget. Let us keep the courage and memory from our past in our hearts and minds forever. Let us teach our children that history is not only an interesting story but vital to our well-being.

Writing about spies opened my eyes to the extreme conditions and dangers that are a part of the lives of these—both bad and good—men and women. My hat’s off to the good ones who use their highly developed senses and intelligences for the good of our country!

ABOUT THE BOOK: A Flute in the Willows

Both rebels in their own way, Josie and Jerry Patterson must figure out how to keep the other’s love…and keep the German enemy at bay.

She has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Has another woman captured his heart?

Jerry has vowed to let Josie live her own glamourous life…especially after what happened in Germany. But when his wife’s life is threatened, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Jerry has to risk all for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.

These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their own selves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness.

Buy the Book:



Chapter One

Jerry Patterson stared out the yawning black hole in the side of the plane. Seconds to go before he dropped. Night time parachuting was always a risky thing, but the pilot was one of the best who’d keep this baby right on target, lessening the chances he’d have to hit water. Trees were another matter, but with any kind of luck, the landing would go smooth.

Then to meet his contact and move into the German military high life. His pulse revved up. It was a dangerous game he was about to play.

Josie’s face flashed in his mind, and Jerry felt his heart soften. How he loved his tomboy wife. She was a beautiful butterfly dancing on ice, but put her in a social setting, and she was like a wild creature let lose in a maiden aunt’s prim parlor.

Three weeks of marital bliss. It’d been heaven on earth for him. One rapturous day—and night—after another. She’d cried the night before he’d left, but had been strength personified when he’d boarded the train the next morning.

If—no, when—he got home, he’d wrap his arms around her and not let her out of his sight.

Jerry stepped into the hole and dropped rapidly, counting. One thousand…One thousand one…One thousand two… With a jerk he pulled, the parachute opened above him, and he drifted earthward toward his assignment.


Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427898838&sr=8-1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/browncarole212

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=67381031

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113068871986311965415/posts

Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Word Sharpeners: https://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/what-easter-means-to-me/


What Kind Of Research Did You Have To Do? — Tisha Martin

Today I’m happy to welcome author Tisha Martin as she shares talks about her writing research.

Historical research is intimidating. Imagine sifting through pages and pages of information, not knowing what to put in or what to leave out.

When I was doing research for my WWII historical fiction novel, I ran into the necessity of needing to know what school-age students ate for lunch. I didn’t think it would be too much different from today (minus the fast food), but I was unprepared for some of the surprising facts surrounding the school lunch.

As I was perusing a cookbook from the 1940s, I was amused to see how precise each section was, and especially the chapter on “The School Lunch.” According to The American Woman’s Cookbook of 1940, published for the Culinary Arts Institute, a child’s school lunch should contain all of the essentials so that he/she will be able to properly attend to schoolwork. On page 60, the American Woman’s Cookbook states:

1. [The school lunch] should be abundant in amount for a hungry, healthy child. A little too much is better than too little.

2. It should be chosen with regard to the nutritive needs of the child and in relation to the whole day’s food.

3. It should be clean, appetizing, wholesome and attractive.

Attractive? Now that was an interesting detail! Each lunch item was wrapped individually in wax paper, with the heavier items on bottom, and placed inside the lunch box in the order the food was to be eaten first. I wonder, did students eat what was on top first? Would you?

What stood out to me was that this small chapter devoted to the school lunch emphasized the value of the meal, made “carefully and well” (60). Mothers packed one of every food group in each school lunch. Fruits and vegetables, the book said, “are not always easy to include in the school lunch, yet if the child is to be well nourished, some way must be devised to get them in” (61). Perhaps it was hard to get fresh fruits and vegetables during the winter time, but that’s why Victory gardens and canning were vital to the wartime American families. I appreciated the determination presented in this chapter to find a way no matter what.

It may seem strange to learn a lesson from reading a chapter about preparing a student’s school lunch, but I’m glad there was a time in history when people cared about even the smallest details. And that’s also why I write historical fiction.

Even though our lunches may not be wrapped in wax paper and placed in a tin box, I think we’re getting back to the organic way of eating, but would you want to try a peanut butter and onion sandwich? Or how about a peanut butter and pickle sandwich?



About Tisha Martin

Tisha Martin is a writer, editor, and owns way too many vintage hats. When not writing or editing, she’s connecting with friends on social media and blogging for others and on her website http://www.tishamartin.com. She’s also excited to serve on faculty at Breathe Writer’s Conference in October.



The First Men to Deliver Mail Through Dust Storms, Pouring Rain, Winter Blizzards, and Other Dangers — Kelly F. Barr

Today I’m happy to welcome author Kelly F. Barr as she shares some fascinating history and insights about her upcoming novel.

In 1860 as settlers stretched from east to west across the United States they longed for words from loved ones living across the country. William H. Russell of the freighting company of Russell, Majors & Waddell came up with an idea to advertise their business. They had vast experience hauling cargo and passengers, and they already provided mail and stagecoach services between the Missouri River and Salt Lake City, when Russell’s idea was born.

Russell thought that a horse relay, a Pony Express, would promote the company and gather congressional support to win the mail contract for a central overland route. He received backing from Senator Gwin, a California Senator.

Much to the dismay of Russell’s partners, he committed to opening the express mail service on the central route in April 1860, and so the three partners started a new firm, the Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Company (C.O.C.&P.P.) – the official name of the Pony Express.

C.O.C.& P.P. established home stations every seventy-five to one hundred miles (to house riders between runs) and smaller relay stations every ten to fifteen miles (to provide riders with fresh horses).

Many were upgraded from existing stagecoach stations, but some stations were built from scratch. The operation expanded from eighty-six stations on the Pony’s first run to one hundred forty-seven stations by mid-1861.

Hired riders ranged in age from teenagers to about forty, though the preference was for fellows not over eighteen who were orphans. Riders faced many dangers from extreme weather to trouble with wild animals to Indian attacks.

I got the idea to write a story about a Pony Express rider when our youngest son and I were reading books about the Pony Express because he was assigned to write a Historical Fiction story for a writer’s group he was part of. I loved the idea of the Old West and cowboys and remembered how much I loved the “Young Riders” television show that ran from 1989 – 1992. And so a story idea was born.

In my work in progress (WIP), which will be my first novel, my main male character is a Pony Express rider, Johnny Reason, who not only faces the dangers of riding for the Pony Express, but also the dangers of falling in love. He meets his lady love, Erin Byrne, in St. Joseph, Missouri and is taken aback by her strong will and bold talk. Could a relationship between the two of them work? Does he stand a chance against the other men of St. Joseph who would like to win her hand?

Though loosely based on a real-life Pony Express rider, there is not enough information available on any of the Pony Express riders to write an entire novel about one particular rider. Therefore I have taken artistic liberties in writing my story, which I hope to have completed and published by late summer 2019. However, because of my love of history, I promise history lovers will not be disappointed. I do my best to include as much true history as I possibly can.


About Kelly F. Barr

Kelly has published poetry, homeschool articles, and a devotional. She is a member of LCW and ACFW. Kelly is also a freelance editor. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three sons, and their Labrador Retriever.


Website: https://kellyfbarr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/historicalfiction1/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyFBarr

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/



Sharon Rene — Author Spotlight

Today I’m happy to welcome author Sharon Rene for an author spotlight.

— What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I enjoy writing in a variety of genres, and A Mixed Bag of God’s Grace gave me the opportunity to do just that. The short stories are a combination of biblical, historical and contemporary. I write because I enjoy creating a unique world and escaping reality for a few minutes. In all my writing, fiction or non-fiction, children or young adult I strive to honor God and to shine His light in a world that desperately needs Him. But I know this can’t be done if the book is not entertaining and fun for children to read.

— Who is your ideal reader?

When writing this book, I pictured a parent with three children of various ages and genders. The oldest boy liked historical, but the girl preferred contemporary, while the little one loved the excitement of the Bible stories. My ideal reader is a child who loves all three genres, but my ideal parent is one who realizes that this book will please every child in the house.

— What are you currently working on?

I am currently writing a Young Adult Speculative series. In 2062, a group of teens are embroiled rescuing kidnapped Christian students and stopping a politician’s assassination. I got hooked on Young Adult the minute I read The Hunger Games. My books are not nearly as violent or sensual as some of the secular YA books, but they are just as exciting. I hope this series will make an excellent alternative for teens who enjoy reading intriguing dystopian novels but do not enjoy the immoral themes in some of the popular YA fiction.


A Mixed Bag of God’s Grace is a collection of short stories for children ages six to eleven. Children will witness the confusion at the Tower of Babel and the apostle Peter’s miraculous rescue from prison as told by a charming cat and mouse duo. The reader travels to England where they encounter Queen Elizabeth I, Grania the she-pirate and a young boy who does not want to become a knight. In the contemporary section, several young Christians deal with the challenges of our modern society.

Thanks to an excellent suggestion by one of my critique partners, I’ve included a short devotion after each story. This also provides a time for parents to minister to their children.

I would love for you to comment now and tell me what you think of the concept of “something for every child” in this book. Will this help supply a “reading” need for families or not?



Sharon Rene’s book, A Mixed Bag of God’s Grace, is a collection of short stories for children, biblical, historical and contemporary. Currently she’s working on a Christian Young Adult series. She’d love for you to connect with her on her website www.sharonreneauthor.com to learn more about her Divine Destiny series. Sharon Rene strives to honor God in all her writings and help people know Him better.


Purchase Link for A Mixed Bag of God’s Grace


Website: www.sharonreneauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharonreneauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonRene4

June 2018 New Releases!

June 2018 New Releases

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


Contemporary Romance:

The Sleuth’s Miscalculation by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Librarian Nancy Daley loves a good mystery and enjoys moonlighting as a consultant for the sheriff’s department. When license plates go missing in Tipton County, she’s on the case. But she’s been partnered with the new deputy, Carter Malone, and he’s not interested in her help. When the minor case they are working morphs into something more, things quickly go from harmless to scary. Can they solve the mystery before it’s too late, and more importantly, what will they do about their growing attraction? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe — Hiring Amanda “AJ” McAlester as his assistant at the Big Heart Ranch isn’t foreman Travis Maxwell’s first choice—but his sisters insist she’s perfect for the job. And AJ’s determined to prove she’s just as qualified as any man. But with money on the line, AJ and her innovative ideas could put him at risk of losing everything…including his heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Enduring Love by Toni Shiloh — Belle Peterson is hiding a secret. Seeking sanctuary in the small town of Maple Run, she’s intent on starting her life over—one she hopes honors Christ. The plan was going great until an undeniable attraction to Micah Campbell has her wondering if she’s changed at all. Can love really conquer all or will Belle’s past be too much for Micah to handle? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

General Contemporary:

A Firm Place to Stand by Lori Altebaumer — Out of options, Maribel takes a safe enough seeming job, but soon finds herself in the middle of a murder, a search for a missing girl, and a race to find a lost treasure. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Kuwaiti Seeker by Jim Carroll — A young Kuwaiti Muslim searches for truth in Islam, but God finds him anyway. (General Contemporary, Crosslink Publishing)

General Historical:

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett — Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty. After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling? As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas–a revelation that may bring her charade to an end. (General Historical from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

Historical Romance:

Orphan Train Sweetheart by Mollie Campbell — Spring Hill is the orphan train’s last stop—a final chance for Simon McKay to find homes for his young charges. When his fellow placing agent quits, Simon enlists help from the frontier town’s pretty schoolteacher. Cecilia Holbrook is as intriguing as she is independent, yet Simon’s devotion to his mission will soon call him back to New York. Long overshadowed by her flirtatious sister, Cecilia is done with waiting for a man to choose her. She’s already fighting the school board to keep her position. Now she’s struggling not to lose her heart to Simon. Could their shared concern for the children show them how to follow a new dream, together? (Historical Romance Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Love Restored by Kelly Goshorn — She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of-until a promise from his past threatened their future. (Historical Romance from Pelican Book Group)

The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman — In 1792, Quinn O’Shea leaves Ireland for Natchez, Mississippi, ready to force his oldest brother to reclaim the role of family guardian so Quinn can be free to pursue his own adventures. While aboard ship, a run-in with tenacious yet kind Kiera Young and her two Irish sisters lands him in the role of reluctant savior. Upon arriving in the colonies, Kiera realizes her intended groom never existed and a far more sinister deal has been negotiated for her and her sisters. Quinn offers to escort his charges safely to Breeze Hill Plantation and his brother’s care, fully intending to seek his freedom elsewhere. But the longer he remains, the greater his feelings toward Kiera grow and the more he comes to realize true freedom might be found in sacrifice. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter — When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. Graham, intent on finding his friend’s missing sister, is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling. After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different, but long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. As much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer — Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. She’s made a safe haven with Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers. Seeking justice against the gambler who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Instead, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley — It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four? (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter — After losing his closest friends and now his girlfriend to the ravages of war, Caden Wallis arrives on the Outer Banks for one final mission–to thank the woman who sent him a quilt while he was recuperating at Walter Reed Army Hospital. McKenna Dockery knows about loss. She juggles the family business, her ailing father, and an aging grandmother. Much to Caden’s surprise, she–not some elderly lady–is the quilter. The quilt was something she’d begun for her future husband but shipped to the military hospital after the tragic death of her fiancé. When a man is found snared in a net and murdered on McKenna’s property, she and Caden must work together to bring the killer to justice. (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)

Ransom of the Heart by Susan Page Davis — Police Captain Harvey Larson’s exhausting day takes a big detour when a teenaged girl approaches him at the diner, announcing that she is his daughter. When Harvey is on his way home from work a few hours later, his sister-in-law Abby calls him. She went to meet her husband for a dinner date and found a dead man on the floor at his place of business, and Peter has vanished. Harvey calls in his detectives and turns his car around. It’s going to be a long night, too. Once again, Harvey depends on his wits, his faith, and his squad, the Priority Unit, to solve a tough case and carry out Maine Justice. (Romantic Suspense from Tea Tin Press)


Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams — Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged. Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army—singers who can shake the earth and master the sea—and monsters rampage across the land. As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer. (Speculative High Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)

Jodie Wolfe — Author Spotlight

Today I’m happy to welcome author Jodie Wolfe for an author spotlight. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter to win the giveaway.

— What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I predominantly write historical romance, although I also have written homeschooling articles and devotions. I guess I fell in love with historical romance when I was a young girl reading and watching Little House on the Prairie. At the time, I wasn’t crazy about history, but I guess it still got into my blood. 🙂

— What is your favorite part of writing?

My favorite part of writing is the creating process. Researching, breathing life into characters, and watching the story unroll. It’s a real joy to write and create a story world.

— What is your least favorite part of writing?

Most definitely the editing process! I’d much rather write than edit. 🙂

Thanks for allowing me to visit today. I’d love to give away an ebook of my new book, To Claim Her Heart. I mentioned that I wasn’t crazy about history when I was a kid, do you have a certain time period you really enjoy? If so, why?


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

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

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

Chapter One

Competition should be relegated to the male species. Proper young ladies should avoid a situation which permits rivalry, particularly involving the male species. If unavoidable, allow the gentleman to win. Be above reproach in this manner.

Mrs. Wigglesworth’s Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society

September 15, 1893, Kiowa, Kansas—Border of the Cherokee Strip

“Elmer Smith?”

For once in all of her days, Elsie welcomed the name Pa had insisted on when her life began and Ma’s had ended.

“Is that you, son?”

“Ain’t your son.” Ain’t no one’s son. Elsie shifted her Stetson lower to ward off the man’s scrutiny.

“There’s no need to get your prickles up. Do you testify you’re at least twenty-one years of age and head of your household?”

Elsie nodded and bit back a retort.

“Then sign here.” The man shoved a paper across the makeshift desk. Beads of moisture dotted his upper lip.

She scrawled her name on the line. The page crinkled when she folded and shoved it into her shirt pocket, along with the copy of The Homestead Laws and Pa’s hand-drawn map.

“Get out of the way, kid.” A scraggly looking fellow jabbed into her shoulder.

Elsie stepped out of line, glaring at him. He ignored her and turned his attention to the clerk.

She elbowed through a crowd of men. How had her small town swelled to so many folks? Thankfully there were few she recognized, or, more so, who could recognize her. The less who knew her gender, the better. She certainly didn’t need no man to help her get the land she and Pa had dreamed about.

Elsie scooted her hat up and swiped at the sweat on her forehead before dropping it back into place, scrunching the thick braid she’d pinned up three days prior. Hefting her saddlebags to her opposite shoulder, she hiked the short distance to the livery and retrieved Buster. A short ride would clear her head and prepare her for what lay ahead.

Dust swirled and nearly choked Elsie as she rode in the opposite direction of the throngs, to see the old farm one last time.

Acrid smoke filled her lungs. Nearby fires, to deter Sooners from entering the strip before the race began, burned in the west, but not out of control.

Elsie urged Buster, careful not to tire him. Everything hinged on finding the land tomorrow.



Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior’s faithfulness and forgiveness. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW and RWA. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.


Purchase Link for To Claim Her Heart: https://www.amazon.com/Claim-Her-Heart-Jodie-Wolfe/dp/1946016470/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525790723&sr=8-1&keywords=to+claim+her+heart

Website: https://www.jodiewolfe.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jodie-Wolfe-553400191384913

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JodieAWolfe

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/JodieAWolfe

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15220520.Jodie_Wolfe

Purchase Link for Mrs. Wigglesworth’s Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society:https://www.amazon.com/Wigglesworths-Essential-Etiquette-Manners-Refined-ebook/dp/B07CMWB8KB/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1525963859&sr=8-4&keywords=jodie+wolfe