Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"In Firefly Valley" Takes the Crown!


I know, technically Summer just started,but...

Thank you all for participating in our special May releases Clash of the Titles. We appreciate the efforts of all of our fans, and particularly our authors this month: 


RachelJamesJenniferRodewaldHeather DayGilbert, and Sarah LoudinThomas


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Some of the very encouraging words from our readers include:
--Love reading your books. Can't put them down.
--Great lookingreads. All new authors to me. So, looks like I have great TBR pile for therest of the summer.
--Love all of Amanda Cabot's books. I have FireflyValley here ready to read.
--I love Heather Gilbert's books. She writes in such a fresh and wonderful way, I feel I'm right there with hercharacters. I especially love Tess's character!
--Sarah Loudin Thomas,I have loved both of your books! Keep 'em comin'!
--Trial by Twelveis a masterful suspense novel. I love that it is set in West Virginia and has a married couple as main characters. I hope there is a sequel! Bravo,Heather Gilbert!
--Blue Columbine is a favorite and can't wait formore of Jen's books to come out.
--Rachel James is an exciting new author of engaging historical characters.


And the champ of this clash is...

Amanda Cabot, In Firefly Valley



She’s lost her dream job—but has she found the man of her dreams?

Devastated by a downsizing, Marisa St. George has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it means a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow’s End resort. The only silver lining: Blake Kendall, a new guest house might make her believe in love at first sight. But will Marisa’s dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers Blake’s real identity?

This warm and witty story of dreams deferred and mistaken identity will have you believing in second chances.

Buy the book on Amazon;,Barnesand Noble

A NOTE FROM AMANDA

My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who helped make In Firefly Valley thewinner of this month’s Clash of the Titles. Your support means so much to me! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you’re the reason I write.Thank you for your belief in me and my writing.

I’ve been delighted with the response to this book. A number of you have told me you think it’s even better than the first of the Texas Crossroads stories, At Bluebonnet Lake. Since I hope that my writing improves with each book,hearing that has been the encouragement I need to work even harder on the next book.

I’ve also been pleased with the praise reviewers have given In FireflyValley. RT Book Reviews rated it a page turner and said, “Cabot’s heartfelt storytelling rings true as she addresses the pains of bitterness andresentment, as well as the hard fight to love again and forgive all hurts....Charming secondary characters and the beautiful Texas Hill Countrysetting cap off a story that is a delight to read.”

Blogger Trudy Shiroma Koeffler had the following to say:“To say I have a new favorite author is an understatement! This book was absolutely fantastic on so many levels! First of all it brought deepspiritual truths into the story naturally and realistically. The love story was the sweetest one I’ve read in a long time, but it was not a predictablelove story at all. It had twists and turns, and nail biting episodes that had me guessing till the end. I was impressed with the mature way love wasdisplayed in this story on all fronts with the various characters. Thisbook is not some fairytale romance but rather a tale of characters withreal issues, fears, heartaches and hang-ups. The author deals with each issue in a detailed, emotionally healthy and spiritual rich way. The description of landscape, cabins, cooking and friendships will make you wish you could take a little trip to Dupree and visit Firefly Valley yourself!”

Thank you again for your support. I’m excited, overwhelmed and more pleased than I can ever say at having In Firefly Valley win this award. And, for those of you who’ve asked “what’s next?” the third of the Texas Crossroads books, On Lone Star Trail, will be released in February 2016. If you’d like to learn more about that and my other books, I invite you to sign up for my online newsletter. It’s simple: just send me an email. You’ll find the address on my web page. I look forward to hearing from you.

About Amanda:

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

Visit her websiteFacebook page, Twitter,  Blog




Courting Emily, Wells Landing, Book 2, by Amy Lillard


About Book

Return to Wells Landing, the close-knit Amish community in Oklahoma, where a hopeful young woman struggles to find true love while staying true to her faith. . .

Emily Ebersol is the bishop's daughter, and everyone--including Emily--assumes she'll marry a faithful Amish man and live out her days within the community. But her childhood sweetheart, Luke Lambright, fell in love with racing cars during his rumspringa and decided to leave Wells Landing. Emily prays for his return, but as the months go by, she begins spending time with another young man--a man who may not be as exciting as Luke, but perhaps he's exactly what she needs. . .

Elam Rhiel knows that Emily has always been in love with Luke--but he is certain he could be the loyal, steady husband Emily deserves. Then, just as Emily begins to fall for him, Luke returns and complicates her feelings. Now, they all must learn that the greatest love requires the greatest sacrifice. . .

Paperback368 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Zebra/Kensington
ISBN
1420134558 (ISBN13: 9781420134551)




About Amy

I’m a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel
Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I’ve retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I’m from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty-five years and have a son–a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, nail polish, and romance novels–not necessarily in that order. I’m a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I’m shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twlight series (I’ll get to it or I won’t, either way I’m good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I’m alone on this last one, and again, I’m good with it.)

Favorite movies–(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940’s movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven’t seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn’s and Audrey’s.

Squirrel Princess (a definition)– A God fearing Southern Belle who is easily distracted by the beauty of the world around her.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right—for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Eleanor Roosevelt


*****
RATED 5 OUT OF 5!


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Convenient Bride Collection: 9 Romances Grow from Marriage Partnerships Formed Out of Necessity


About Book
Join nine brides of convenience on their adventures in a variety of times and settings gone by—from a ranch in California…to the rugged mountains of Colorado…to a steamship on the Mississippi…to the dangerous excitement of the Oregon Trail…into high society of New York City. No matter the time or place, the convenient brides proceed with what must be done, taking nuptials out of necessity. . .and never dreaming that God might take their feeble attempts to secure their futures and turn them into true love stories for His glory.bout
Paperback448 pages
Expected publication: July 1st 2015 by Barbour Books 
ISBN 1634090977 (ISBN13 97816340971)


Authors

My Thoughts
This collection of stories is about determination and fortitude, which I found in each of these brides as they ventured into a blind agreement of marriage, most intriguing.  I am not so sure I in that age or time would have found the courage to venture into such an agreement. Though most of these women did not have much of a choice for some it was a matter of life or death.
We are fortunate as women to have rights these women did not have back then.
Each story made an impression on my heart leaving me to imagine if any of the women on my family tree were put in the position to make such a choice.  
Don't even ask me to pick which story was my favorite because I must say they are all top of my favorite list. 
I want to thank all of these authors for combining their stories into one book for our pleasure to read and contemplate on historical times for women, which is my favorite subject.
I highly recommend this book! 
I rated this book a 5 out of 5.
Dislosure: I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley/BabourBooks for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To Win Her Favor (Belle Meade Plantation #2) by Tamera Alexander 


About Book

A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who can help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing for good . 

Any Irish-born son far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He’s come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and start a farm, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he’d wagered, especially when Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the annual Drayton Stakes at Nashville’s racetrack––the richest race run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance, and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder, Maggie’s father––aging, yet wily as ever––makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail––Maggie must marry a man she’s never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself. 

Cullen and Maggie need each other in order to achieve their dreams. But their stubborn, wounded hearts––and the escalating violence from a "secret society" responsible for lynchings and midnight raids––may prove too much for even two determined souls.


To buy: AmazonBarnes & NobleCBD


About Author


Tamera Alexander is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous books, including A Lasting Impression, A Beauty So Rare, To Whisper Her Name, and From a Distance. Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards.

These awards include two Christy Awards for Excellence in Christian fiction (and seven finalists), two RITA awards for Best Inspirational Romance, three Gayle Wilson Awards of Excellence, two Bookseller’s Best Awards, and being listed among Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction, among others.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville where they enjoy life with their two adult children who live nearby, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.

She LOVES connecting with readers, so please join her through these venues:

www.tameraalexander.com
www.tameraalexander.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/tameraalexander
www.facebook.com/tamera.alexander
http://pinterest.com/tameraauthor/

Tamera's Historical Group Blog: www.writespassage.blogspot.com


My Thoughts

Maggie loves to ride and not just any horse.  It is her thoroughbred racing horse, Bourbon Bell.  Maggie is determined to race her horse at Drayton Stakes racetrack to win a very large purse. Winning will give her the money toand standing  save her plantation. She must first prove to her father that Bourbon Belle is ready.

Cullen McGrath is looked upon as Irish trash, not to be trusted because of his ethnicity.   He cares not what people think all he wants is his own piece of land and thanks to Maggie's father he is not only getting a plantation but a wife, a woman he has never met.  Cullen agrees to this barter which will keep the plantation for Maggie, only if Maggie agrees.  She has no idea of what they are conspiring behind her back.

Cautiously and not without anger, resentment and some stipulations does Maggie agree to the marriage, unbeknownst to the fact that Cullen is against horse racing, no if, and, or buts about it.

How will she get past this hurdle and change Cullen's mind?

Tamera Alexander is  one of my favorite authors. This book drew me in not wanting to put it down until the last page was read. Even then it kept me yearning for more.  You can't help connecting with the characters feelings and actions.

The story also provide me with the chance to catch up on some of the characters from book one of this series.  It was like catching up on old friends.

I want to thank Tamera for another great read!

I am looking forward to the next book in the BELLE MEADE PLANTATION series!

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free paperback copy of this book from Zondervan and a digital copy from NetGalley for an honest review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

COTT's Sizzling Summer Reading Clash!



Looking for some awesome take-me-away Summer Reading?

Check out these new releases and I dare you to tell me which one you'd put on the top of your reading list. We offer contemporary and historical romance, a little fantasy, dager, mystery, suspense!
Vote for your next most likely read, and leave the author a word of encouragement, then share with your friends. 

Vote in the survey box, and come back next week for the Reveal!

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Fantasy

Rachel A. James

To unite the kingdoms and bring peace, Princess Alena must enter into a royal marital alliance, but when the handsome physician, Sherwin, befalls her, matters become complicated. Torn between obligations to her young son and country, she faces a difficult decision, will Alena obey the king's orders, or choose to follow her heart?
*****

Romance

Jennifer Rodewald

Friendship, love, and then betrayal...for Jamie Carson one thing becomes clear: Andrew needs a savior, and she cannot be it. Will Andrew allow the hand of grace to redeem his legacy of addiction, or will he and Jamie remain the casualties of heartbreak?
*****

Suspense

Heather Day Gilbert 

Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa's back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry...even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that a serial killer's sights have zeroed in on her.
*****

Contemporary Romance

Amanda Cabot 

Marisa St. George has lost her dream job and come home to manage the struggling Rainbow's End resort in the small Texas town where she grew up. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But is he really who she thinks he is? 
*****

Historical Romance

Sarah Loudin Thomas 

When family tragedy derails Henry Phillips's college studies, he consoles himself with his fiddle and the family farm. His grandmother's helper, Margaret Hoffman, is always around, ready to push his buttons, and it seems she doesn't care about his troubles. But Margaret has her own problems. Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as they face potential loss and find healing in the most surprising places.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stephen Bly's Horse Dreams TRILOGY: Memories of a Dirt Road, The Mustang Breaker, Wish I'd Known You Tears Ago by Stephen Bly


ON SALE AT AMAZON KINDLE STORE  .99 !!
HURRY LIMTED TIME!



ABOUT TRILOGY

For the first time, you can now get all three novels in Stephen Bly’s Horse Dreams Series together in one trilogy book. 

In the first novel of this series, Memories of a Dirt Road, we meet Develyn Worrell.  Develyn, or Devvy for short, is a fifth-grade schoolteacher from southern Indiana who is broken-hearted about her husband's death and her daughter's decision not to come home for the summer. To clear her mind, Devvy decides to find a little dirt road town in Wyoming where she vacationed as a child. She fondly remembers the quaintness of the small town, the beautiful sunsets, and an remarkable Roan horse that has captivated her dreams ever since.  Desperately wanting to experience that peace and tranquility again, Devvy embarks on a journey to find the town.  When she arrives, she purchases her very own Roan mare, rents a little cabin with an incredible sunset view, and watches as God brings three very important men into her life. 

In the second part of the Horse Dreams Series trilogy, The Mustang Breaker, heavy-hearted Develyn Worrell’s mood is changing as she begins to escape the worries of her past and enjoy the equine charms of her picture-perfect small Wyoming town. It is there that the Lord’s leading is beginning to become clear, even as cowboy romances and the relationship with her grown daughter get more complicated. 

In the third and final installment of the Horse Dreams trilogy, soul-searching Develyn Worrell has finally found her groove.  Ready to savor the end of summer in small town Wyoming, she settles in to enjoy “end of summer” peace and contentment. That is, until her daughter pays a visit, an eclectic friend plans to marry, a suspicious stranger enters the picture, and a dear mentor suffers a heart attack.  Just as she begins to feel as if the world is closing in on her once again, the steady friendship of Cooper Tallon comes to her rescue. He may lack the charm and flash of other cowboys, but he always seems to have just what Develyn's heart needs.  As her relationship with Cooper blooms and her faith and trust in the Lord grows, she looks forward to the unwritten chapters of her lif



About Author


Stephen Bly (August 17, 1944 - June 9, 2011) authored 100 books and hundreds of articles.

His book, THE LONG TRAIL HOME, (Broadman & Holman), won the prestigious 2002 CHRISTY AWARD for excellence in Christian fiction in the category western novel. Three other books, PICTURE ROCK (Crossway Books), THE OUTLAW'S TWIN SISTER (Crossway Books), and LAST OF THE TEXAS CAMP (Broadman & Holman), were Christy Award finalists.

He spoke at colleges, churches, camps and conferences across the U.S. and Canada. He was the pastor of Winchester Community Church, and served as mayor of Winchester, Idaho (2000-2007). He spoke on numerous television and radio programs, including Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family. He was an Active Member of the Western Writers of America. Steve graduated summa cum laude in Philosophy from Fresno State University and received a M.Div from Fuller Theological Seminary. 

The Blys have three sons: Russell (married to Lois) and father of Zachary and Miranda (married to Chris Ross) and mother of Alayah, Michael (married to Michelle), and Aaron (married to Rina Joye) and father of Keaton and Deckard. A third generation westerner, Steve spent his early years working on ranches and farms. 

Author's website.

COTT Spotlight on: Diamonds or Donuts


Good morning! I'm very excited to have Lucie Ulrich with us here today to tell us about her new release, Diamonds or Donuts. First, isn't this such a fun cover? Wow!
Blurb:
Sarah Alexander’s marriage to millionaire Logan Montgomery is put on hold when Logan is offered the opportunity to go on an extended archeological dig in Egypt. Though not happy with his decision, Sarah supports her fiancĂ©, despite the fact she’s already given up her apartment and teaching position.

When Sarah’s best friend, Pippa, suggests Sarah move to Sunset Cove, she figures a new town, new job, and new friends are just what she needs to help her through the separation. If she’d known one of those friends would turn out to be kind-hearted, good-looking, well-built, Officer Kevin Jenkins, she might have figured a little harder.

Though Sarah goes out of her way to keep her relationship with Kevin on a friends-only basis, it’s clear their feelings for one another are teetering toward something more. Now Sarah must make the most important decision of her life. Will she choose the man who can shower her with diamonds or the one who isn’t able to offer much more than free donuts?
***
This sounds like a WHOLE lot of fun! (And really makes me want a donut.) Want a sneak peek? Lucie was kind enough to share an excerpt with us today, too.

Short Excerpt:

Sarah changed into her pajamas, pulled out the sofa bed, and crawled under the sheets. Sleep, however, didn’t come easily. She wanted to talk to Logan—needed to talk to him, but it wasn’t possible.

When sleep finally came, it was accompanied by dreams of missed phone calls, arguments, and misunderstandings. There might even have been a fight between Logan and Kevin, but it was all too blurry to remember. She awoke with a headache and heartache.

Pippa’s bedroom door opened and she appeared makeup applied, dressed and ready for church. She stopped short at the side of the couch. “Yikes! Who did you wrestle with last night?”

“Crazy dreams.” Sarah pushed herself to a seated position and ran a hand through the tangles in her hair.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Pippa placed a hand on Sarah’s arm. “What’s going on?”

Tears clouded Sarah’s vision. “Guess I’m having a harder time dealing with Logan’s absence than I thought I would.” She blew out a breath. “I should be planning my wedding, not moving into a new apartment. Alone.”

“It’s barely been a month since he broke the news. Your reaction is normal. I’m sure it’ll get better with time.”

“He got mad at me yesterday.”

“Who? Logan?”

His harsh tone replayed in Sarah’s head. She nodded. “He was upset that I didn’t have dinner with his folks, and we parted on less than loving terms.”

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. You seemed to be having such a good time with Kevin that I never suspected anything.”

Her headache intensified. “Yeah, that’s another thing. I’m starting to feel guilty about spending time with Kevin. He’s a great guy and I like him a lot, but I’m afraid I might be giving him the wrong idea.”

Pippa’s eyes widened. “Like how? I know better than to think you’ve been flirting with him.”

“No, nothing like that.” Sarah thought back to last night and the other times they’d been together. Had she been flirting? Had he? “It’s just that I really like him. We’re so comfortable together, I forget he’s a gorgeous, well-built guy and I’m an engaged woman.
***
Ruh-roh Methinks someone's in trouble! The kind that's oh-so-fun to watch unfold. ;-)

A few questions for Lucie:

1. Diamonds or Donuts is an interesting title. How did you come up with it?

My first two novels delve deeply into the world of hurting people. Physical and emotional scars, feuding brothers, and long-kept family secrets barely scratch the surface. Before tackling another such story, I felt the need to try my hand at something more lighthearted. I decided to play around with the idea of a girl who has to make a choice between two men—one rich, the other not. When I decided to make “the other man” a policeman, the title came very quickly. I love being able to begin a story with the title already decided.

2. Is there a message or moral to your story?

Absolutely! Even though Diamonds or Donuts is a light read, there is substance to the story. I don’t like flighty characters—at least not lead characters, and I didn’t want that to be the case with Sarah. I chose to show her struggle between remaining faithful to her fiancĂ©, while battling her emerging feelings for another man. One reviewer spoke about Sarah’s moral compass being right where it should be, which is exactly what I was going for. When we think we know what’s best for us, God often has different plans.

3. Share a bit about your writing process.

I don’t outline, so I take things as they come. I do have notes and ideas, and I usually know how my books will begin and how they will end. For me, the best part is watching the characters evolve, and allowing them to take me along for the ride. I’m always thrilled when I see something one way in my head, but my characters beg to disagree. Needless to say, the characters win the majority of the time.  

4. If you had to do it again, would you change anything in your book?

There are a number of things I would change in books one and two, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing in Diamonds or Donuts. It was a blast to write. I love all the characters, the setting, and especially the ending. 

Those are the best! :) Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Lucie. Readers, you can get a copy of the book at the following links:

Video teaser by Videos By O:
 

About the Author:
Lucie Ulrich took her time becoming a writer. Not much of a reader as a child, writing was of no interest to her--until she joined a church drama team. The desire to write a skit, and not simply act out someone else's was so strong, that once she started, she couldn't seem to stop. That first skit led to her becoming the drama team director, then eventually, the performing arts director at a small Christian school.

Lucie's first novel was penned under a tree in a field in Holland. Though her first, second, and third attempts never saw the light of day, parts of each of them became the foundation for "Broken Vessels," her first published work. No longer involved with the performing arts, Lucie enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She hopes to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.

Social Media:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/inspywriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucieUlrich
Website: http://lucieulrich.com/

**Come visit us next week for our next Clash featuring May releases, hosted by Lisa Lickel!**

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Featuring Peso and Potholes by Susan M. Baganz


Poignant romance of two lost souls learning about the things that gowrong, humanity’s fault lines and how to grow and love again despite thepotholes that inevitably crop up. Baganz manages to throw some laughter and joy into desperate situations in this debut novel. Read Pesto and Potholesf or a crazy adventure that makes Italian food with a side of Ninja warriors seem natural.

--Lisa Lickel



Pesto & Potholes
by Susan M. Baganz

About the book:

Renata tries to escape her past and runs straight into . . . love.

Renata Blake has moved to the Milwaukee area to leave behind a painful pastas a victim of abuse. She discovers a family like she’s never had before atOrchard Hill Church and is drawn to handsome Packer fanatic, Antonio. After all she’s suffered through, could she ever trust a man again?

Antonio DeLuca has a full life with his family, church and his job as chef and manager at DeLuca’s Cucina. Having been betrayed in love, he is afraid to trust a woman again. How would he fit her into his already full life anyway? 

As circumstances draw them together and attempt to tear them apart, life becomes a combination of savory pesto and painful potholes as both Tony and Renata learn that with God’s help, and the support of a faith community,they can both learn to love again. 
And maybe fight a few ninjas along the way. 

PURCHASE

What COTT Voters Had to Say:
--Susan, I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to read yourbook. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.
--Loving reading this, Susan Bagnanz.
--I'm so excited for you, Susan! Congratulations.
--Going to order this one today, Susan Baganz! Thank you for writing greatbooks!
--Great job, Susan. Way to go!
--Great cover and great story premise, Susan Baganz.
--Excited about Susan's book. The title is so intriguing.
--Susan M. Baganz - I like the happy sound of this story!
--Sounds intriguing, Susan Baganz!
--Susan M. Baganz - You are doing great and your stories are socaptivating! Thanks for writing and sharing your gift with others!



We don't often get excerpts from authors, 
so enjoy this one from Pest and Potholes!

Sunday was cold. The sun shined brightly, and Renata sat at church surrounded by more of the De Luca clan. Tony winked at her, and they worshipped together. She experienced such joy and freedom in the music and lyrics. This was the new Renata. Free. Joyful. Loved. What a difference from a year ago.

After church, she raced home to change into jeans, sneakers, a sweater and coat. She pulled on knit gloves to keep her hands warm and found a matching knit cap to put on her head.

Tony arrived to pick her up in his car and they went through the drive-thruat Taco Bell for something to eat. Renata laughed when part of Tony’s burrito dribbled onto his sweatshirt.

They arrived at Brown Deer Park early, and Tony suggested they take a walk over by a small pond.

“This is such a peaceful place.” Reverent awe filled her voice as she gazed about.

“Sure is, but watch out for the goose doodoo.”
“Doo doo? Is that an Italian term for poop?”

Tony laughed, “No,that’s me trying to be more delicate since I am with a gorgeous woman in a beautiful place.”

“Awww, Tony, you are sweet.” They walked side by side, not touching. Renata could see their breath in the air.

“Edith agrees with you.”

“Edith? My neighbor?” Renata stopped to stare at him.

“Yeah, the other night she gave me a kiss because you had neglected to do it for her.”

Renata laughed. “Is she my competition for your affections?”

“Are you seeking my affections?” He looked at her with one eyebrow raised.

Renata looked away. Her entire neck and head grew warm.

“You have no competition. No one can compare to you.” His voice was seductive to her ears when he used those words.

“Now you go too far, Tony. I’m not as perfect as you think I am.” She had to reign this in. She didn’t want to lead him on.

“Who said you were perfect? Surely not I.”He placed his hand flat on his chest.

Renata laughed and gaveTony a playful punch in the arm, but was quickly distracted. She pointed to the pond. “Look at the geese coming in to land. They look like they are water skiing when they put their feet down.”

“Water skiing geese.Now I’ve seen everything. What will you think of next, Ren?”

“I don’t know. I thought it was your turn to be absurd for a while.”

Tony reached out and tickled Renata. “Stop!” She laughed and started tickling him back and took off running into the grass. Tony ran after herand with his longer legs managed to catch her causing them both to fall on the leaf-covered lawn. Renata grabbed a handful of leaves and tossed the mat Tony, and he returned the favor. Soon they lay there in the leaves giggling and gasping for a breath.

“It is beautiful out here.”Renata said. “It’s hard to believe this is Milwaukee.”

“It’s hard for me to believe my good fortune to be sharing this with you.” Tony looked over to Renata and reached to grab her hand to give it a squeeze.

Renata’s shoulder muscles seized at his touch. The touching, the laughter, and the sense they were alone in the world without any past orpresent or future to worry about, shook her. She needed him too much. No.She wanted him. She desired him. She looked at his face, so close to hers and imagined what it would feel like to kiss him. Stop. This has to stop. No man will ever love you. No man will ever see you as more than a plaything. The messages bombarded her.

The monsters wereback.

About the author:

Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits, and is a native of Wisconsin.She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group, specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.

Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all Hehas created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology,a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy…snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chailatte.

You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com;, her Twitter feed@susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz.




Monday, June 1, 2015

The Pelican Bride (Gulf Coast Chronicles #1) by Beth White



About Book

It is 1704 when Genevieve Gaillain and her sister board a French ship headed for the Louisiana colony as mail-order brides. Both have promised to marry one of the rough-and-tumble Canadian men in this New World in order to escape religious persecution in the Old World. Genevieve knows life won’t be easy, but at least here she can establish a home and family without fear of beheading. But when she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer whose courageous stand for fair treatment of native peoples has made him decidedly unpopular in the young colony, Genevieve realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. And a secret she harbors could mean the undoing of the colony itself. 

Paperback368 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published April 8th 2014)

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD


About Author

Beth White teaches music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. Her hobbies include playing flute and pennywhistle and painting, but her real passion is writing historical romance with a Southern drawl.

A native Mississippian, she is a pastor's wife, mother of two, and grandmother of two--so far.

Also published as Elizabeth White, her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award.

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I RATED THIS BOOK 5 OUT OF 5!