Monthly Archives: March 2015

Dandelions for Dinner with Valerie Comer

 

 D4D-200x300I’m happy to have Valerie Comer with us this week to share about her new release Dandelions for Dinner: A Farm Fresh Romance 4. Welcome to Kimberly’s Musing’s, Valerie. Please tell us about your book.

She hates him. He loves her not.

Men are weeds. Allison Hart doesn’t need them in her carefully tended life, though her friends at Green Acres seem happy with their guys. Why can’t Allison open her heart to anyone but her young nephew? Then again, he’ll be a man one day, too. If only the irritating contractor in charge of building her home and farm school wasn’t the boy’s favorite person.

Fireworks with Brent Callahan’s newest client shift from antagonism to the rocky possibility of a relationship. When he comes face to face with a history he’d much rather forget, he realizes hiding his failures isn’t the best option for finding forgiveness, let alone love.

Can a little boy help weed out the past before it chokes their future together?

What inspired this story?

As I contemplated moving the Farm Fresh Romance series from the originally planned 3 novels to 6, I became excited to provide room for the setting, Green Acres Farm, to have its own arc. The next step was a school where outsiders could come to learn about organic farming and sustainability, so I created a teacher/investor in Allison Hart and paired her with a timber-framing contractor, Brent Callahan. Years ago I wrote a somewhat similar scenario in a proposal that went nowhere, with the heroine’s young nephew as part of the cast. That scenario seemed to fit the framework of this story well, so the two melded.

Will you share a teaser?

Brent couldn’t believe the gall of this woman. “No, you cannot work on the job site.”

Allison’s chin came up. “And exactly why not? You obviously need help. I may not have all the experience you guys have, but I can make things easier for you. I can fetch and carry, and whatever you need done. Like an apprentice.”

“I don’t think so, ma’am.”

She leaned closer, her eyes flashing fire from mere inches away. “Don’t call me ma’am.”

Brent’s grandmother had drilled that kind of respect into him when he was a kid. Allison Hart seemed to take it as a personal affront. Just went to prove not all women thought the same, as if he hadn’t had enough life lessons on that one already. But he couldn’t back down… or away. He was the foreman here, regardless of what she thought. “I beg your pardon.” Never mind that his tonal inflection was the exact opposite of begging.

“Give me one good reason I can’t help.”

He could give her thirty without coming up for air. “Steel-toed boots.” He should make her wear them anytime she put that hard hat on.

“Okay. I’ll go put them on.” She turned.

No way. She had a pair? He might need a few more of his thirty reasons. “No sweaters with holes in them that can get caught on pegs. No hoods on jackets for the same reason.”

Allison glanced back at him with a shrug. “You think I only have one change of clothes?”

He could be pardoned for thinking that. She only wore black, as near as he could tell. It all looked the same to him.

She marched back and plunked her hands on her hips. Not that she had any. “Why don’t you say what’s really on your mind? You don’t want me here because I’m a woman and you don’t think I can do the job.”

Two could play this game. “I don’t want you here because you’re a woman and you have no experience. I’d rather watch for falling hammers than watch for someone who’s bound to get injured in the first hour.” He leaned closer. “I don’t have the time or the patience to teach an apprentice.”

“You have the time,” Allison shot back. “But I totally believe you don’t have the patience.”

Do you write in more than one genre?

Contrary to what it looks like on my Amazon author page, I don’t.

In my “apprentice days” I wrote six speculative fiction titles (science fiction, fantasy, and YA fantasy). I published one of these as an indie experiment before re-releasing my first two Farm Fresh Romance books. At this point, I have no intention of returning to spec fic.

I’ve found a readership in contemporary inspirational romance, and have dozens of stories left to write in that genre. Being as the number is added to at least monthly, I don’t think I’ll ever run out!

What does your writing space look like?

I’ve taken over most of a small bedroom upstairs in our farmhouse, with my laptop desk under a west-facing window — perfect for a morning writer. A long table creates an L space where I can spread out notes, calendars, maps, etc. Above the table I have a giant inspiration board with character pix and other photos and items that inspire the story. I also have a large whiteboard for working out plot problems.

 

When my daughter’s family comes to visit for a few days, I pack away everything that three- and five-year-old hands and minds might find interesting. The space then becomes their bedroom. I’ve got the pack-and-put-away down to a routine by now, so it doesn’t take long! And it’s worth the inconvenience to have the grandgirls visit.

How long did you write before you were published?

I started writing in 2002, and had my first release in May, 2012 (a novella with Barbour). I hoped this would open more doors, but it really didn’t. I contracted the first two Farm Fresh Romance books to a small publisher but regained the rights a year later.

This time I moved straight into indie publishing, and I’m so glad I did! I love it! Readers are finding my stories and enjoying them. That’s the goal of any writer.

Of the 17 manuscripts I’ve completed to date, 11 are published or are queuing up for it. The rest… you don’t want to know about. My apprentice works don’t deserve to be published.

What is next for you?

I’m hard at work on the next Farm Fresh Romance novel, Plum Upside Down, which I expect to release this summer. Between now and then, I’m releasing two novellas in my Riverbend series, Pinky Promise (April) and Sweet Serenade (June).

The first book in the Farm Fresh Romance series, Raspberries and Vinegar, is free on all e-book platforms. It’s a great place to start!

Thanks for sharing with us, Valerie. It was fun learning about your office space and your book!

Valerie-Comer-300x300Valerie 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.

The Outlaw Takes a Bride by Susan Page Davis

Outlaw Takes a BrideThis week we have Susan Page Davis here to share with us about her book The Outlaw Takes a Bride. I’m so pleased to have you here, Susan. I’ve been a fan for a long time. 🙂

Widow Sally Golding becomes a mail order bride in hopes of finding a happier marriage than her first and finally having children of her own. Johnny Paynter is accused of murdering his ranch foreman. With his pal Cam, he flees from Colorado to his brother’s ranch in Texas. On arriving, he finds that his brother, Mark, has been killed by outlaws. Cam convinces Johnny to bury his brother and lie low on the ranch. Everyone in town thinks Johnny is Mark, as they looked a lot alike and Mark was a quiet man who kept to himself. Then they learn that Mark had proposed to a mail-order bride, and Sally will arrive soon. Setting the record straight now would make Johnny look guilty of several crimes, so he keeps quiet—and winds up married to Sally. She knows something is wrong, but Johnny won’t tell her what it is. When she threatens to leave, Johnny comes clean. Sally loves him, but she isn’t sure their marriage can survive the strain—and then the outlaws return.

 Is this book part of a series, or a single title.

This is a single title.

I love single titles. Glad to hear it. 🙂 Do you write in more than one genre?

Yes, in addition to historical romance, I also write mystery and suspense. My Frasier Island series is made up of three contemporary novels featuring naval officers. For a cozier read, try the Mainely Mysteries series I co-wrote with my daughter Megan.

 What does your writing space look like?

I have a converted bedroom for an office. It holds my desk, six bookshelves, four file cabinets and a printer table. It’s pretty full. The wall décor consists of sentimental items and photos. I love that I can see my bird feeder out one window. Right now there are a cardinal, a sparrow, and a cedar waxwing on it.

What  a nice view! When did you first start writing?

I’ve written stories since I was a child, but I seriously began trying to publish fiction in 1999. I sold quite a few short stories, and my first book came out in 2004.

What is next for you?

I’m working on a couple of projects—a new Christmas novella and a seafaring adventure, which I’m co-authoring with my son.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Susan.

Susan Page Davis croppedSusan Page Davis is the author of more than fifty published novels and novellas. Her historical novels have won numerous awards, including the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest. She has also been a finalist in the More than Magic Contest and Willa Literary Awards. Susan lives in western Kentucky with her husband and two youngest children. She’s the mother of six and grandmother of nine. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com

A Splash of Substance

SplashFrontWelcome back Elizabeth Maddrey.  I love your cover and can’t wait to learn about A Splash of Substance. 

Here’s the blurb:

She doesn’t vote. He works for a Senator. Is it a recipe for love or disaster?

Paige Jackson has always stayed out of politics, leaving it to God to govern the world. She has enough on her plate as the owner of a catering company founded on convictions to buy local, sustainable fare. Jackson Trent works on Capitol Hill for Senator Carson, putting his beliefs in action to help shape national policy.

Hoping to find high-end clients to keep her business afloat, Paige bids on a contract to cater the Senator’s next fundraiser. Shake-ups in the Senator’s staff leave Jackson grudgingly in charge of the event. After Paige is chosen as caterer, she and Jackson must work together despite opposing beliefs on how God calls Christians to participate in government. As Paige introduces Jackson to sustainable fare, it’s not just the food that piques his interest.

When Senator Carson becomes front-page news in Washington, Paige is sucked into the whirlwind of scandal. Can Jackson convince Paige he wasn’t complicit and win her back or has politics burned his chance at love?

This sounds like something I would enjoy. 🙂 What inspired A Splash of Substance? This story started with a, let’s go with vigorous, conversation with some Christian friends who don’t vote. As we were talking, the writer part of my brain started asking, “What if someone who doesn’t vote fell in love with someone who worked in politics? How would that pan out?” Here in the DC area, politics are just one of those things you can’t really avoid, so it’s definitely a plausible scenario. I tossed around the idea with my sister and she helped me flesh it out, along with the other two in the series.

 Do you write in more than one genre? I branched into women’s fiction last year, so I guess I have to say yes. But I’m happy to be back in contemporary romance-land. I plan to hang out here for a while. That said, I have several fantasy and speculative manuscripts sitting on my hard drive that I’ll probably dig out again at some point and see if they’re worth trying to polish.

What does your writing space look like? I have a really lovely desk, with a huge monitor and comfy chair down in the basement where my husband and I share an office. But most of the time? I’m sitting on the couch or at the dining room table with my laptop. Since I’m at home with my kids during the day (and we homeschool), I fit in writing when I can, so being mobile is a huge benefit. In the evenings, most often my husband wants to unwind with a little time on the Xbox, so I curl up next to him and write. It works. I just hope my desk doesn’t get too lonely.

How long did you write before you were published? I started seriously writing, with the intention of publication, in about 2004. So seven years? During that time, I worked on six different novels, finishing four of them and getting to about the 40,000 word mark on the other two before deciding they were trash. My fifth finished novel became my first published novel in 2012. What I love, though, is that with every novel I write, I learn so much about craft and story structure and what works and what doesn’t, so every successive book is better than the one that came before. I’m still so very proud of that debut novel, but I also love looking back over my work and seeing how much it’s progressed.

What is next for you? Next up are the final two in the Taste of Romance series (to finish out the trilogy). They’re tentatively titled A Pinch of Promise and A Dash of Daring. They’ll be out in June and November, respectively. I’m also hoping to get one or two novellas released this year – we’ll have to see if I can work those in. (I really, really want to, so I think at least one of them should, for sure, happen.)

I love your tentative titles. 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us, Elizabeth!

Readers, Elizabeth has graciously offered to give away a kindle copy, world wide, or a print copy USA only of if you would like to be entered for a chance to win a copy of Splash of Substance please leave Elizabeth a question.

Rules: There must be at least five qualifying comments for The drawing to take place. Comments made by Kimberly and Elizabeth don’t count. The drawing will end 3/22/2015. The winner will be noticed by email on 3/23/2015 and have until 3/29 to respond or forfeit the book. No new winner will be drawn. Void where prohibited by law.

ElizabethMaddreyHeadshotElizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

 

 

 

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Beast of Stratton

Renee Headshot2 (300x240)This week we welcome Renee Blare. Thanks for joining us, Renee. Please tell us about BEAST OF STRATTON.

Beast of Stratton’s my debut novel and inspired by Beauty and the Beast. This book’s a romantic suspense with a taste of mystery. Relatively short at a little less than 150 pages in length, it moves quickly and will keep you flippin’ until the last word.

It sounds like fun! I really enjoyed that movie. 🙂 What does your writing space look like?

I actually write in my arm chair. I have a laptop and a TV tray serves as a desk. I also use my end table for a place to store all kinds of stuff from earphones to my cup of pens and Kindle. Hey, it works!

This started a couple of years ago when my shoulder froze. Yes, froze. I suffered with the most severe case of encapsulitis in my right shoulder the orthopedic specialist in Fort Worth had ever seen. And he was one of the premiere shoulder surgeons for the southern region. After two years of excruciating physical therapy and two surgeries to loosen the joint, I can now move it. Not with the 100% mobility, but close. God is good.

That sounds horrible. I’m glad you are doing better now! When did you first start writing?

I began writing many years ago in junior high school. I wrote short stories and poetry. I prefer sonnets. I know, I’m old-fashioned. But it wasn’t until recently…say three or four years ago that I began to write novels.

I’d purchased a “Christian” book on Amazon. The reason I put it in quotes is that I don’t recall one thing about the book that was Christian. Nothing. In fact, it was filled with sex, profanity, and everything I’d attempted to avoid. Not reality…evil.

My poor husband took the brunt of my frustration. I ranted and vented at him for at least an hour about the trash on the market disguised as Christian novels. He listened and nodded…and then challenged me to write my own. It was like a slap to the face. That was the day I became a writer.

🙂 How long did you write before you were published?

From that day to the day I was published? I would have to say it’s been four years. Not easy years, but each day has been a soul-searching, sponge-like, busy day.

I took the thrashing from the nay-sayers and well-meaning scholars. You know, the ones who sit on their lofty thrones somewhere unseen and state only those with fancy degrees and people who’ve written for a thousand years are worthy to grace the halls of publication.

I was served the infamous rejection letters and cried tears of wounded pride. After all, who likes to hear their baby isn’t ready walk much less fly out of the house.

But I didn’t give up or assume I knew it all. I simply acknowledged the fact I didn’t know anything. And learned. I’m still learning. God’s showing me more each day. What? How to write better, edit better, market better…you name it! The day I stop learning is the day I stop breathing.

What is next for you?

More books! The first book of my series, The Snowy Range Chronicles will be released in July by Prism Book Group. It’s called To Soar on Eagles Wings. I’m editing the second right now and will be writing the third shortly. Right now, I’m finishing up a novella I’m calling Racing Hearts. It’s under contract with Prism Book Group as well.

The Lord is so good. I’ll keep writing and putting His message out there. God is good.

Congratulations on your contract with Prism! You reached your goal of publication faster than I did, but it’s all the Lord’s timing. 🙂 Renee sent along an except from her book. See below.

BeastofStratton_eBook (533x800)BEAST OF STRATTON

Copyright 2015 © Renee Blare

He’d vanished.

She’d called his friends, the family. She’d even tried her stepmother who’d hung up on her. Well, okay, maybe that wasn’t the brightest idea.

A red rose rolled across her father’s tattered note, caught in the breeze from the open window. Sliding the pane down, she picked up the flower. The words on the page blurred as she buried her nose in the soft petals.

Instead of saying goodbye to his wife in his last letter, he’d simply left explicit instructions not to follow him. Aimee snorted. Like the woman would care. He’d sent it with the rose and an antique necklace. She held the thick chain aloft and peered at the golden key spinning in the light. The jewelry had probably cost a fortune.

And her stepmother was nowhere to be found. Scratch that. According to her, she wanted to be left alone. It didn’t make a difference to Aimee what the letter said and to whom, she’d follow. A small smile worked its way to her lips as she fastened the necklace around her neck.

The zipper stuck on the edge of the suitcase and she gave it a hard jerk. Dragging the bulging bag off the bed, it hit the floor with a thunk. She slid her arms into her jacket and looped her purse over the handle. She dropped the rose, and it landed beside her plane ticket next to her wallet. Before latching her fingers around her bag, she tucked the key under her shirt out of sight. “Stratton Industrial, here I come.”

Available for purchase: Amazon

(http://www.amazon.com/Beast-Stratton-Renee-Blare-ebook/dp/B00SCD8DQU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423424667&sr=8-1&keywords=beast+of+stratton)

Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to Laramie and she’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

A Valentine for Kayla with Kimberly Rose Johnson

It’s always a little awkward interviewing myself, so I simply answered the same questions I sent to the other authors that will be visiting Kimberly’s Musings this month. I hope you enjoy the post.

A Valentine for Kayla Cover 9780373487745Please tell us about A Valentine for Kayla?

KAYLA RUSSELL DOESN’T LIKE VALENTINE’S DAY

What should be Kayla’s favorite holiday is just another reminder that she hasn’t met someone special. The beautiful florist—and hopeless romantic—has nearly given up on love, when the man of her dreams walks into her shop…to buy flowers for another woman!

Former music superstar Derek Wood poses as a local deliveryman while he cares for his ailing mother. Derek is drawn to Kayla’s genuine spirit and natural beauty, but he can’t hide his identity forever. The man Kayla’s falling for doesn’t really exist, but the feelings they share are real. Will Derek finally give Kayla a reason to love Valentine’s Day?

What inspired this story?

Last year on Valentine’s Day I had an idea hit me for a story. I seriously don’t like Valentine’s and out of my dislike for that day, my character Kayla was born.

 Is this book part of a series, or a single title.

This is a single title and my final book with Heartsong Presents, since Harlequin in closing the line in June. I feel so fortunate to have sold this book when I did. It’s crazy to think that the idea for the book came to me on Valentine’s Day and by the following Valentine’s I could hold the book in my hand! I never imagined it would happen so quickly.

Will you share a teaser?

“I hate Valentine’s Day.” Kayla Russell secured a flower arrangement in the delivery box, then moved on to the next one in a long line of vases and baskets filled with colorful flowers and greenery. Everywhere she looked there were hearts or cupids to remind her of the dreaded day.

Her best friend and business partner, Jill, shot her the look—the one that said Spare me. “I’m sure if you had a boyfriend, you’d feel differently.”

“Unlikely. Think about it—no matter how you look at it, unless your man is Prince Charming, there’s no way he can live up to the hype. The day is one big disappointment.”

“I’m glad everyone doesn’t feel that way or you and I would be out of business. Have you looked at the orders? I’m going to be working all night just to get everything finished in time for Charlie to deliver tomorrow.”

Kayla bit her bottom lip. Flowers and More depended on successful holidays to keep their doors open. Sure, they stocked gifts and music, but the big money came from days like Valentine’s. She glanced at the clock. “I wish the UPS guy would get here. He’s late, and[…]”

 

Here is one more excerpt.

“The bell on the entrance jingled. “I hope that’s UPS.” Kayla rushed through the swinging door into the main part of their shop and stopped midstep. That was not their normal UPS guy. This one hummed a familiar worship song and walked with a bounce in his step.

He stopped humming when his eyes rested on hers. “Afternoon.” He handed her a small box. “Busy day.”

She tore her gaze from his twinkling azure eyes. “Yes, here, too.” She raised the box. “Thanks—I’ve been waiting for these.”

“Welcome. Have a good one.”

“Come again soon.” The last word died on her lips as she realized how ridiculous she sounded. He’d be back only if she had something shipped UPS. It wasn’t as if he were a customer.

He winked and strode his toned body out the door, then hopped into the large brown truck and rumbled down the road.

“Come again soon?” she muttered. He probably thought she was a nutcase, and today that wouldn’t be far from the truth. But, oh, he was something, and so polite, too. Kayla mentally ticked through her must-have list of qualities for a husband. Tall, handsome, kind eyes, sings, loves[…]”

Excerpt From: Kimberly Rose Johnson. “A Valentine for Kayla.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=2C380862A53AB99DAB49FFFF93B9C7B1

Do you write in more than one genre?

No. I only write contemporary Christian romance.

What is next for you?

I recently signed a three book contract with a small publisher for my Wildflower B&B Romance Series. The first book, Island Refuge, Will release mid-April. I’m really excited about this book since I wrote it a couple of years ago, when inspiration struck. I was in the middle of writing my Leavenworth, WA series and when I was in Leavenworth we visited a B&B one of my husband’s relatives own. It got me to thinking and the next thing I new I had this story in my head begging to be written. So I put a hold on my Leavenworth series book to write this one.

Would you like a chance to win A Valentine for Kayla? Check out this site. http://trishperry.blogspot.com/2015/03/kimberly-rose-johnson-march-releases.html

I will be visiting several blogs this week. As I get the links, I will post them in the comments.

I would love to hear from you. If you haven’t already please sign up to receive my newsletter. You can sign up on my HOME page. Just click the button at the top of the page.

Just for fun, in the comments please tell me what you did this past Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you stayed home and watched Hallmark movies, like I did. 🙂

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/1ztgwYq

CBD buy link: http://bit.ly/1aIFZYr

KJ_063 vs 2Kimberly Rose Johnson soon to be empty-nester, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their yellow lab. Kimberly writes contemporary Christian romance and currently has five traditionally published books. Kimberly enjoys long walks, chocolate, and mochas, not necessarily in that order.