Monthly Archives: September 2014

Echoes of Edinburgh and JoAnn Durgin

JoAnn Author Photo (Princess Cruise)Welcome back JoAnn. It’s always a pleasure to have you here.

Please tell us about Echoes of Edinburgh. I love the cover!

Let me share the blurb with you:

To honor her dying father’s wish, Chicago stockbroker Shelby Harmon promises to hand deliver an envelope addressed to “Robert Nichols, Personal & Confidential.” Her quest to find Robert leads her to a most unlikely place—the Castlehill Gardens outside Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle. Who is this fiercely private man and what is his connection to Harmony Lane, her family’s horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky? Harrison Reed cautions Shelby against dredging up hurtful memories for his close friend, Robert. As they explore the city together, Shelby and Harrison find themselves increasingly drawn to one another. When the contents of the mysterious envelope are revealed, the answer gives her hope for the future of Harmony Lane. Is the time spent in Edinburgh with Harrison destined to be nothing more than a beautiful memory? Did Shelby lose her heart in Edinburgh…or find her way home again?

Will you share a short excerpt?

Here’s a fun snippet from not long after Shelby meets Harrison (“Harry” as she starts to call him, which he doesn’t like—at first). There are several such fun, lively scenes, as I know my readers have come to expect in one of my books. I must have humor, as both a reader and an author, to lighten the burdens of life!

Echoes of Edinburgh CoverHarrison rushed forward. Moving one hand around Shelby’s waist, he pulled her against him. Almost hip-to-hip close. Goodness, he was solid muscle. She couldn’t help but breathe in his masculine soap-and-water clean scent. At least he didn’t wear expensive cloying cologne. Those only made her sneeze and her throat itch. His gallant heroics kept her upright, never mind her pride was now splattered all over the walkway. Putting one hand over her chest, embarrassed, Shelby took a couple of deep, calming breaths. “Well, that was fun.”

“Are you all right?” Steadying her, Harrison’s brows knit together. “If I let go, you’re not going to fall, are you?”

Her laugh came out an unladylike grunt. “Yes, thanks. I mean, I’m fine and it’s safe to let go. I think. Why don’t we try it and see what happens?” Averting her gaze as he released her, a flush warmed her cheeks. “I should buy you a cape and call you Captain Hand…” She cleared her throat. “That’s, um, Captain Harrison.”

Good thing she wasn’t in a room full of potential clients, or she’d be a discredit to her profession. Never in her life had she been so inarticulate. Or clumsy. Old Edna Pinson would be shocked by her appalling lack of social graces. After all, any young lady of fine breeding in Lexington who’d attended Edna’s House of Charm should know the proper manner to recover from a near-fall with grace or the dignified, if not subtle, method of falling—or was it swooning?—into the arms of a handsome man.

Harrison leaned forward and captured her eye contact. “Shelby? Still with me?”

She lowered her gaze and smoothed one hand down the front of her khaki skirt. For once in her life, she wished she wasn’t wearing something so absolutely utilitarian. Even her simple, white sleeveless blouse was as plain and boring as they come. “I might be suffering from a little jet lag. Or the change in altitude, atmospheric conditions…I don’t know.” She shrugged. “Something like that.” Suffering the effects of Harrison Reed was more like it. Maybe she’d been cooped up too long in her office and needed the break more than she’d realized. This was also why she never flirted. When it came to engaging gorgeous men in conversation, she was much more competent in a business setting.

“Who’s Edna Pinson?”

“Excuse me?” She’d voiced that thought aloud? Harrison’s hearing must be uncommonly sharp. Chewing the inside of her cheek, Shelby pushed aside a long strand of hair whipping across her face in the warm, mid-July breeze.

“You said Edna Pinson. Right before you mumbled something about charm.” The corners of his mouth twitched. “Something like that.”

“Oh,” she said, tucking the wayward hair behind one ear. “I was giving thanks for not”—she searched her mind for something resembling coherency—“having a…head full of pins.” With that comment, he probably questioned her intelligence, and she couldn’t blame him. Next he’d tell her he’d need to cancel for lunch tomorrow.

“Do you normally have a head full of pins? If that’s the case, I trust you’re talking about in your hair and not actually inside…” His grin widened as he pointed to his head.

Laughter bubbled up inside her. What an insipid conversation. “No pins involved. Promise. Edna Pinson ran a charm school I attended once upon a time. Goes without saying I’m a classic dropout.”

“I thought charm schools went out of vogue a century ago, but you’re doing a fine job of it.”

She couldn’t resist. “It?”

“The charm factor.”

If you could be a character in your book, who would you like to be and why?

Shelby Harmon, my heroine in Echoes of Edinburgh, grew up on a horse farm, Harmony Lane, in Lexington, Kentucky. The rolling hills in Kentucky, and the horses and farms, are absolutely gorgeous and it’s called “God’s country” for good reason. Shelby grew up privileged and yet she is basic and down-to-earth although she has a high-powered stockbroker job in Chicago. But, as the book begins, Shelby is all business. She’s come to Edinburgh to fulfill a promise to her dying father and to deliver something to Robert Nichols, originally from Lexington and who’d once known her parents and worked at Harmony Lane. Shelby finds Robert in a most unlikely place: the Castlehill Gardens outside Edinburgh Castle, thereby lending a hint of mystery to the story.

What I love about Shelby is the gradual progression of her character—how she changes, evolves and grows. As she gets to know the hero, Harrison Reed, and as they explore the fascinating city of Edinburgh together, she starts to enjoy herself and her natural sense of humor and spirit of adventure begins to shine. After the deaths of both of her parents, Shelby is unsure as to the direction of Harmony Lane, and when she decides to stay in Edinburgh longer than planned, she learns a lot of important life lessons. The end of the book finds her back home in Lexington as she ponders her true home—home in her heart.

 What is your favorite part of writing a book?

That ah-ha! moment that generally comes at some point during the course of writing a novel. Meaning an epiphany of sorts when one of the main characters is hit with sudden inspiration, a revelation, or a truth from God’s word and how it applies to their lives. Those moments of creativity are what make the writing process so sweet and gratifying. For instance, in one of my novels, that moment comes when the hero is all alone in the woods of Montana, it’s freezing cold and he’s in the pits of despair. He cries out to God, ready to listen, and God answers his prayer. In the still quiet, the hero finally understands that in order to keep the love of his life, he needs to be willing to let go and surrender her to the Lord’s will. That becomes the turning point of the entire novel.

 I agree, JoAnn those are great moments!

What is your favorite genre to read?

Christian romance, both historical and contemporary, although the latter is my favorite. I like the variety and life application of contemporary novels. I can better identify with the working woman and mother of today but I also enjoy the history, clothing, styles, customs and manners of past eras in history, especially in the U.S. I only read Christian fiction at this point because the secular romance novels generally have a smattering of elements I prefer not to read. I like a bit of spice in my books, as my readers must realize, but always within God-honoring limits.

 What is next for you?

Sleigh Ride Together with You, the third and final installment of the Starlight Christmas Saga (after Meet Me Under the Mistletoe and Starlight, Star Bright) releases in early to mid-November this year. I’m currently working on a prequel to my Lewis Legacy Series, and it’s the love story of Sam and Sarah Lewis, parents of the core character in the series. The setting is small town Texas in 1962-1963, and I’m having a ball with it even though (gasp) it’s considered historical (something I thought I’d never write). However, it’s also called “modern” historical, and during a period of time in which many of my readers lived. I’m also resurrecting a standalone novel from my archives, Heart’s Design (set in the picturesque foothills of western Maine), and then it’s on to Enchantment, Book #6 in the series, which is written but needs editing.

Thanks for sharing with us, JoAnn and for offering to give away an eCopy of your book! Leave a comment for JoAnn to be entered for a chance to win. 🙂

Rules: Drawing ends 10/5/14. Winner will be contacted on 10/6/14 and have until 10/12/14 to reply or forfeit the eCopy. Void where prohibited by law.

JoAnn is the author of The Lewis Legacy Series and Catching Serenity. Her novellas from Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing include Echoes of Edinburgh and three Christmas novellas: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright and Sleigh Ride Together with You. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn lives her husband and three children in her native southern Indiana. She loves to hear from her readers via her website at or on her author page on Facebook at


Which Direction are you Looking?

DSCF0951I recently read a wonderful devotional about not looking backward, but rather looking forward. This made me think about how often  I say to myself if only things were like they used to be. Or I miss the way it was. I get so caught up wishing for the past that I often forget to look forward with expectancy for what’s to come.

Philippians 3:13, 14 encourages us to forget the past and look toward the future. Here’s a link if you’d like to read it.

Perhaps you have a past hurt or a broken relationship that is holding you back. I hope you will join me as I try to look forward and leave the past where it belongs–in the past, and be encouraged that the Lord has good things in store for you.



Hope in My Heart

This week Alexis A. Goring shares with us about her book Hope in My Heart. Media image

Thanks for hosting me today, Kimberly!

It’s my pleasure, Alexis. Please tell us about you book.

My book is an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories. I wrote it because I wanted to infuse hope into real-life situations. All of my characters in the three stories that compose my book are hoping for a dream of their heart to come true and while life events may not happen the way they wanted, they eventually see how God has a plan for their lives and His plans are good (Jeremiah 29:11).

If you could be a character in your book, who would you like to be and why?

 I’d love to be Esmeralda because she has a flair for fashion and a heart for matchmaking! God used Esmeralda to arrange a date between two of the characters in my first story. You’ll have to read my book to find out what happens!

How long does it take you to write a book?

 It depends on my work schedule and my creative flow. My first book took about a year all together as I wrote the three stories that make up my novella in a few months (per story).

When you set out to plot a story, do you have a theme in mind, or does it grow organically?

I always have a theme in mind when I start a story but I’m not a heavy plotter. I tend to create character sketches, do a summary and let the characters take me on a journey. Sometimes as I delve into my characters’ dreams, desires and situations, the process surprises me with a better turn of events and ending than I originally planned. I like to write my stories as I would want to see it play out on a movie screen or television show.

What is your favorite genre to read?

Inspirational romance with authors like Becky Wade and Katie Ganshert.

What is next for you?

I hope and plan to write more books, hopefully bestsellers of good quality with captivating characters and intriguing story lines that become movies and television shows!

Ah, the dream of all writers. 🙂

Will you share a short excerpt? Yes! Here’s an excerpt from “Love Unexpected” which is the first story in my book:

Love Unexpected, Chapter 1:

Sebastian Carter stretched out his muscles then flexed in the gym mirror. “What’s cooking, good looking?” he asked his reflection.

“Aren’t you tired of talking to yourself?” Someone snapped a towel against Sebastian’s chiseled arms. “Get a girlfriend!”

Sebastian flashed a grin to his gym buddy, Hannah Sutton. “You busy Saturday night?”

Hannah rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I’m busy all right.” She flashed her ring finger in the mirror, and the glare of a diamond blinded him for a second.

“What?” He shielded his eyes. “When did this happen?”

“Yesterday,” Hannah replied with a sigh.

“Congratulations. Who’s the lucky man?”

A deep blush colored Hannah’s face.

“Oh,” Sebastian teased, “so he makes you blush! Must be somebody special.”

A male voice sounded behind Sebastian. “Hey, what are you doing talking to my fiancée, Sebastian?”

Sebastian turned to see Hannah’s personal trainer, Jacob Richards, standing beside him. Sebastian laughed. “Naw, naw! You two are a couple now?”

Jacob walked past him and encircled Hannah in his arms. The deep blush on Hannah’s face was replaced with a beautiful glow as she and Jacob shared a look and then a kiss.

“Aww, no, man,” Sebastian cried. “Save the PDA for another place and time.”

But Hannah and Jacob were oblivious to his pleas. He shielded his eyes from the newly engaged couple and made his way toward the locker room. First his sister got married. Sebastian glanced over his shoulder at Hannah and Jacob, walking arm-in-arm toward the treadmills. And now his best gym buddy. What was going on?

“There must be something in the water,” he mused then paused. “In that case, I’m showering at home.”


Love Unexpected, Chapter 2:


Esmeralda Rodriguez looked up from her desk to see the intern, Chandra McIntire, run into her corner office and pause to gather her breath. “Yes, Chandra?” she asked.

Chandra was one of Esmeralda’s favorite workers. Five years ago, Chandra had secured an internship with Boulevard Fashions and now worked exclusively with Esmeralda.

Chandra was five feet four, very petite, and personable. Everyone at the fashion agency liked her, but sometimes her dramatic panic attacks, generated by the daily deadlines, frazzled her colleagues.

“What is it, Chandra?”

Chandra held up her hand as if to say, “Wait a minute,” and sat down in the chair in front of Esmeralda’s desk. “You won’t believe it.”

Esmeralda grew calm, preparing herself for any news of a crisis or another wave of Chandra’s dramatic flairs.

Prima and Primo wants to stop by the office and see you!”

Esmeralda felt her eyes grow wide. “Shut up.”

Chandra shook her head. “I’m serious.” Prima and Primo was a premier design firm based in Southern California and were quickly gaining nationwide publicity with their cutting edge, fancy, but affordable fashions.

Esmeralda nearly dropped the folder she held. Quickly, she placed it on her desk and took out her Blackberry. “When?” I’ve got to make room for this, she thought as she checked her phone agenda.


Esmeralda dropped everything. “Stop lying!”

Chandra shook her thick, dark brown curls to say she wasn’t lying and smiled.

“What time? Where? Why? Oh my—I’ve got to fix my hair!” Esmeralda cried as she adjusted her messy-style hair bun while looking in the mirror attached to her wall.

“I told them that you would be free this afternoon.”

“Time, Chandra. What time?”

“Five o’clock.”

“All right, I think I can be ready by then.” Esmeralda picked up her Blackberry again to pencil in the meeting. “Why so late?” she asked, looking up at Chandra.

“They want to take us out to dinner.”

“Us?” Esmeralda questioned. “As in who?”

“Me and you,” Chandra replied then gave her boss a more serious look. “Honestly now, do you think I would let an opportunity like this pass me by?”

Esmeralda laughed. “Okay then. We’ll be ready. Did they share the meeting’s agenda with you?”

Chandra shrugged. “They said they would like to discuss the nature of this meeting over a meal.”

“Did they let you pick the restaurant?”


“And you chose . . . ”

“Sunset Boulevard Grill.”

“All right. Sounds good.”

As Chandra exited, Esmeralda finished entering the business dinner date into her Blackberry. Prima and Primo . . . she couldn’t wait to find out what they wanted with her company.

#          #          #

Thanks! Alexis is giving away one signed copy of Hope in My Heart.

Rules: One lucky commenter will win a copy of Hope in My Heart. The drawing ends September 28th, 2014. The winner will be notified September 29th, 2014 and have until 10/4/14 to reply or forfeit the book. Drawing is open to USA mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law.

Author photoAlexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

Alexis loves connecting with her readers! Follow Alexis on Twitter @pennedbyalex, “Like” her Author page on Facebook,, visit her official website, and read her blog, “God is Love” (

Low Dose Spirituality

headshot2013This weeks guest devo blogger is Jennifer Slattery.

Imagine chocolate without cocoa.

Imagine salt without, well, salt.

Peruse the grocery aisles long enough and you’ll quickly recognize American’s love-hate relationship with salt. Crackers, potato chips, pretzels, even cottage cheese is loaded with the stuff. We’ve become so saturated with salt, “low-sodium” has become the latest buzz word.

In our culture, salt has become so prevalent, it can be hard to understand why Jesus talked so much about its importance, but in Bible times, salt played a crucial role. It added flavor, preserved food and was even used medicinally. Salt was so important, in fact, it was often used as money.

Salt was a big deal.

When Jesus talks about His followers being the salt of the earth, He is telling us to add flavor to our surroundings and preserve what is good in our culture. (IMHO)

As a tortilla-chip lover, I understand this analogy. I can visualize flavor-producing “salt” pouring from my Spirit-filled being, but what I couldn’t understand for the longest time was how to keep my salt from losing it’s saltiness, something Jesus warns us about in Mathew 5:13.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

I know salt. I’ve been using salt, in one way or another, for–oh, do I really want to age myself? Let’s just say, for a long time.  I’ve dissolved it, re-crystalized it, looked at it under a microscope, and tasted. The flavor didn’t change.

Which was good, because flavorless salt would be bland, ineffective and basically worthless.

The same is true of a flavorless Christian.

I certainly don’t want to be bland, but how in the world can I keep my witness salty?

To understand Jesus’ analogy in Matthew, we need to understand ancient salt cultivation. Most of the salt used in Israel came from the Dead Sea and was full of impurities. These impurities caused the salt to lose some of its flavor.

Is it easier to see how it might apply to my spiritual walk now? Just as impurities weaken salt’s flavor, impurities in our lives, known as sin, weaken our witness for Christ. We talk about the love of God in one breath, and in the next, gossip about our neighbor. We share how great life is with Christ then complain about our jobs or the housework, or chasing after energetic two year olds. We say God is loving and in control then openly and loudly fret about our finances. We talk about the power of the Holy Spirit then allow our emotions to control us.

All this must be very confusing to the non-Christian world.

For me, my greatest impurity is selfishness. My selfishness weakens my witness, mutes my “flavor” and, when left unchecked, reduces my words, no matter how heart-felt, to flavorless powder.

And it’s time I’m diligent with my flavor-preservation.

Today, as a first step effort, I’m going to focus on the needs of others by asking them for specific ways I can help or serve them. Waiting for them to come to me is too easy.

Wanna join me? What is your greatest “impurity” and what are some steps you can take to purge that sin from your salt?

Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it here:

Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here:

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

BeyondIDocoverBeyond I Do:

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here:

The Marshal’s Pursuit with Gina Welborn

the marshal's pursuitThis week we welcome Gina Welborn. I’m always extra excited to have a Heartsong Presents writer visit. 🙂

Please tell us about The Marshal’s Pursuit.

The witness protection program we know of today didn’t exist prior to 1970. In fact, as of 2013, over 8k witnesses and close to 10k family members have been protected by the U.S. Marshals Service. The Marshal’s Pursuit shows one way witnesses were protected in the past by the marshals. New York City was a mafia (mafiosi) cesspool, so I wanted to bring in that element while connecting it to the marshals. In many ways, the mafia mirrored High Society where people married to “get in” and to “move up.” The story is also set in the exclusive Tuxedo Park community. Lots of kudos to the historical society for help with research.
I want to read this book, Gina! Will you share a short excerpt?

I’d love to! Please check it out on the Harlequin website.

If you could be a character in your book, who would you like to be and why?                         I adore U.S. Marshal Norma Hogan. She doesn’t let her identity and skills as a marshal or her obsession with her car lesson her femininity. She takes time to look pretty. I can get so busy with taking care of family and home and writing stuff, that I can be at the mall and one of my kids will point out the dried paint on my calves or chipped polish on my toe nails. Whoops! Norma wouldn’t even get paint on her if she was painting. She’s not messy like I am.
Why do you write the kind of books you write?
I love reading romances. I also love reading non-fiction. When I read books by John Eldredge, Frank Viola, Beth Moore, etc., those things God teaches me are things I want share with readers who probably will never pick up From Eternity to Here, Wild at Heart, or Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman. Ever read a book where you feel the author was preaching at or lecturing to you? I have. Abhor those books. But God’s truth doesn’t have to be preached or lectured for the Holy Spirit to speak truth into the heart of the reader. I also want to write books that will make me smile, bring me joy. My hope is my readers will smile and feel joy too after reading my stories. And I have to say writing is cathartic. I’ve dealt with a lot of my issues by making my leads deal with their issues, which are really my issues.
I was just telling my husband the other day that writing is cathartic for me. 🙂 I take the summers off from writing and have found I’m getting crabby. I started back to writing on the first day of school.

When you set out to plot a story, do you have a theme in mind, or does it grow organically?

Pretty much I have a theme in mind. My stories sold on a proposal. When I build a proposal, I begin with a one-sentence summary of the book, back-cover blurb, scripture verse, and spiritual takeaway.  With The Marshal’s Pursuit, I knew the story was about Malia holding onto her integrity and doing the God-honoring thing even though it made things worse for her brother. The compare/contrast of New York High Society to the mafia didn’t hit me until I was writing chapter five. I like knowing some story elements (and character issues) will develop organically. At the end of chapter three, Frank and the chief marshal can’t figure out why Malia’s brother asked her to do something that put her in direct danger. I didn’t know the answer until Frank figured it out in chapter 12 or 13. And I didn’t fret not knowing. When I attended RWA conference last year, one workshop speaker said when you’re given a story idea, you’re given all of it. Some details will take time to figure out, and that’s okay. You don’t need all the answers at the beginning.

 I agree about not needing all the answers to start. I often find myself writing, not sure how I’m going to resolve something and I later realize the answer was staring me in the face the entire time, or the answer wove itself into the story.

What is next for you?

I’m currently working on a novella for Barbour Publishing’s The Most Eligible Bachelor 9-in-1 Collection to be released spring 2015. My oldest daughter started watching “The Bachelor” tv show with me, which I used as opportunity to talk to about dating and relationships. For years I’ve wanted to write an inspirational version of the show, and do it in a historical context. So when I saw the call Becky Germany put out for this collection, I jumped on the opportunity. Baker’s Dozen spotlights misconceptions us girls have about romance, kissing frogs in hopes they turn into princes, and the fallacy of “soul mate” theology. You can find a little more about it on my website on my Coming Soon page.

That sounds like another great story. I hope you will come back and share with us some more when it releases.

Thank you for the opportunity to share with your readers!

You are very welcome, and thank you for offering to give away one signed copy to a lucky commenter.

Rules: Open to USA mailing addresses only. The drawing closes 9/21/14. The winner will be notified by email on 9/22/14 and have until 9/28/14 to respond or forfeit the book. No new winner will be drawn. Watch your in boxes and check your spam for my email. There have been several winners who didn’t respond and missed out. Void were prohibited by law.

GINA 2012 cropGina Welborn wrote public service announcements for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She’s written three novellas for Barbour, including the 2014 Selah finalist “Mercy Mild” in the ECPA-bestselling Mistletoe Memories. This year ushers in the release of her novels: The Heiress’s CourtshipThe Marshal’s Pursuit, and Masterpiece Marriage. A moderately obsessive fan of CommunityOnce Upon a Time, and Chopped, Gina lives in Oklahoma with her pastor-husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, a box-lab, two rabbits, four guinea pigs, and a fancy Russian dwarf hamster. She is represented by The Steve Laube Agency.

Book Purchasing Links for THE MARSHAL’S PURSUIT

Love Inspired/Heartsong Presents

September 2014


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book Distributors

The Marshal’s Pursuit is the 2nd book in 4-book Tuxedo Park Series. 1st book : The Honorable Heir by Laurie Alice Eakes (May 2014 LIHP)

Back Cover Blurb 


When her brother is arrested for a gangster’s murder, Malia Vaccarelli is plunged into danger. Her life in peril, she trusts on one–not even the special U.S. marshal assigned to protect her. But handsome Frank Louden isn’t what Malia expects.

Hiding Malia on his grandparents’ Tuxedo Park estate may not be the best idea, but Frank is determined to do anything to protect her . . . even if he’s soon unable to ignore his growing feelings for the beautiful woman. As their romance blossoms, will Malia’s criminal connections force her to choose between her family and her heart?




He is Our Hope

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 KJV


I don’t know about you, but I needed to be reminded of that today. God is my hope. He is my refuge and strength.

We live in a hurting world. Just turn on the news for five minutes, or read the prayer requests of friends. It’s hard to not allow the hurt and pain others are feeling to become overwhelming–I tend to want to fix problems, but then I remember I’m not God.J I know that’s obvious.

How many times have you tried to fix something that was better left to Him? Be honest. I’m pretty certain we’ve all tried to play God.

As life resumes it’s normal course, I find myself lacking. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what’s next. So I am making a decision to leave my concerns in His capable hands.

Snowflake Tiara



This week we welcome Valerie Comer to share with us about her latest release. What a fun cover, Valerie! Please tell us about your story.

Snowflake Tiara is a 2-in-1 Christmas collection with a historical romance by Angela Breidenbach and a contemporary romance by me, Valerie Comer. Both novellas can be summed up this way: What if you were caught doing something good, but the man you loved didn’t see it that way?


The Debutante Queen by Angela Breidenbach ~ 1889 (Helena, MT): Calista Blythe enters the first Miss Snowflake Pageant celebrating Montana statehood to expose the plight of street urchins. But if her hidden indentured orphan is discovered, Calista’s reputation and her budding romance with pageant organizer, Albert Shanahan, could both unravel. Will love or law prevail?

More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer ~ 2014 (Helena, MT): Marisa Hiller’s interest in competing in Miss Snowflake Pageant for the city of Helena’s 150th anniversary is at zip zero zilch when she discovers the official photographer is Jase Mackie. Can Jase make amends for past mistakes and offer her, not only a tiara, but a partner in her crusade to help needy children and families?

Will you share a short excerpt?

Awareness settled over Marisa like a suffocating blanket. So that’s why the visitor was here. She could see it clearly now. She surged to her feet, and the swing slammed the back of her knees. “No.”

Creases furrowed Mom’s forehead as she glanced up. “No, what?”

“No, I’m not entering. That part of my life is over.”

Mom looked from one to the other. “Who said anything about—”

Marisa locked eyes with Kristen. “If you’re here to dredge up old history and ask me to enter the pageant, the answer is no.”

“They’re bringing back the pageant?” Mom’s voice rose as excitement caught hold. “But Marisa—”

“Mom, don’t even start.”

“My brother said you’d say no.”

Marisa’s eyes narrowed. “Your brother?”

“Jase. He said it was a waste of my time to talk to you, but I had to try. It means so much to the community.”

“Jase. You mean—” Marisa took a deep breath and closed her eyes. The red-gold hair. The sparkling smile. Eyes as green as a glacier-fed lake. Of course she was Jase’s sister.

“Is that the Jase I heard so much about?” Mom was clearly lost.

Thanks for sharing!  Why do you write the kind of books you write?

My usual angle to a romance novel is a farm setting with local food themes. This is because I’m passionate about where food meets faith. I believe God cares what we eat and how we, as believers, take care of our environment. Tucking that inside a romantic story has been working well for me, as I can drop characters on all sides of the issues and let them fight it out.

Adding these concepts to More Than a Tiara wasn’t as difficult as you might think. My character, Marisa Hiller, is a former supermodel who returned to the family farm after a nasty breakup with Jase Mackie 27 months (and 4 days) ago. She and her mom not only grow food for their local CSA organic box program, she competes in the pageant with a food platform.

What is your favorite part of writing a book?

The first scene, when everything is still perfect and all the characters will behave and the story peaks and valleys will all make sense and land at the appropriate intervals. After that, I just write and eventually it all comes together, more or less.

🙂 How many books a year do you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

I’ve become an indie author in 2014 after 3 traditional contracts, so I’ve had to re-figure out a “best system” for me. At the moment, I believe I can write three books a year (plus a novella or two). I’m four months into my new regimen and so far, so good. Any given month will find me doing four main tasks:

  • Writing on a first draft
  • Editing the previous story, preparing it for release
  • Releasing and/or marketing the one before that
  • Planning the next one

Sounds like indie is very similar to traditional publishing in regard to your main tasks. 🙂 At least it’s similar to what I do.

What is next for you?

I’m planning six books in the Farm Fresh Romance series. The first two, Raspberries and Vinegar and Wild Mint Tea, had been traditionally published, but I republished them myself this summer. Sweetened with Honey will release in November and, by the time this interview is posted, I should have started writing the fourth still-unnamed book, which will hopefully release in March. I’ve been working on the characters and story line for a couple of months now.

How fun! I have the first two books in that series. Thanks for joining us this week and for offering to give away one eCopy of your book.

Rules: Drawing ends September 14th. Valerie or I will contact the winner via email on the 15th. Winner will have until September 21st to respond or forfeit the eCopy. No new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.

Valerie-Comer-150x150Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.
Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories.