Monday, October 23, 2017

A SIMPLE WISH PLUS FALL INTO CASH



A Simple Wish
by Charlotte Hubbard



GENRE:   Amish/Inspirational Romance



A SIMPLE WISH Blurb:

Making rugs for the Simple Gifts store has taught Loretta Riehl that an unassuming pattern can reveal surprising depth. People, too, have a way of defying first impressions. Drew Detweiler came to Willow Ridge under a cloud, but the  handsome craftsman has gained the community's respect for his upholstery skills and commitment to making amends for his mistakes. As her new brother-in-law's twin, he's joining the family for dinners and Sunday visits, and Loretta can't deny enjoying his attentions.

If only  her dat were willing to let a little joy into his life. Cornelius Riehl grows sterner with each day, and Drew suspects there's more to his moods than missing Loretta's late mamm. Hoping to fulfill Loretta's wish to live in a  peaceful, happy home again, Drew sets out to learn the truth. It's a journey that will bring to light painful realities—but also the chance to forge a new, honest, and loving future together...





A SIMPLE WISH Excerpt:

When Loretta looked across the road, she noticed that one of the Detweiler brothers was coming out of the stable in an open buggy pulled by a tall black Percheron. Asa and Drew, identical twins, owned matching horses, so it was impossible to tell which one of them was heading down the long lane toward the road.

She held her breath. Was it her imagination, or was the driver of that buggy looking right at her?

“I—I’ve never forgiven myself for turning my back on the love we shared, Loretta,” Will said again. He stopped the swing so suddenly that Loretta’s long, loose strips of rug fabric fluttered to the porch floor. “We both knew we had a love that would see us through a lifetime together. I was so upset about your Dad splitting us up that I didn’t realize Molly was coming on to me too fast, too soon,” he lamented, gazing at her with the soft brown eyes of a begging dog. “I am so sorry, Loretta.”

Loretta was feeling more unsettled by the second, because Will’s soul baring was leading her down a path she no longer wanted to follow. How could she tell him she wasn’t interested in rekindling their relationship? It would break his heart and depress him further while he still mourned the death of his wife and their misguided marriage.

Sighing, she chose her words carefully. “God has a reason for everything He does—every stumbling block He places in our paths—”
  

“But I see the world so clearly now!” Will blurted out. “I’ve prayed over these things night and day since Molly died and left me with her six-month-old twins. And while I never wished such a horrible death from cancer would take her, it gave me hope that you and I could—”

Loretta stood up, dropping her unfinished rug onto the swing between them. As the Detweiler buggy approached the road, coming toward her, she realized that Drew surely must be driving because Asa and Edith were inseparable—they went everywhere together and took the twins with them, in their baskets. Her pulse quickened. Drew was gazing right at her, pulling out of the Detweilers’ lane and stopping the buggy on the roadside in front of her.

“Loretta, I’ve got a gut steady job now, farming for Luke and Ira Hooley,” Will was saying, oblivious to the buggy. “Soon I’ll be planting a vineyard for them—can you imagine that? And I’ll be asking the Brenneman brothers to build us a house—”

“Hey there, Miss Loretta!” Drew called out from the buggy. “I have an errand to run. Want to come along?”

For a moment, Loretta felt lower than a worm, but she couldn’t allow Will to believe he could take up where they’d left off. He hadn’t heard a word she’d said as she’d gently countered his suggestions. Loretta nipped her lip, glancing apologetically at the handsome young man who’d gone through such an ordeal these past several months. Without a word, she hurried down the porch steps and across the front yard toward Drew Detweiler.



Author Charlotte Hubbard


Charlotte Hubbard is the acclaimed author of Amish romance and fiction that evokes simpler times and draws upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi. Faith and family, farming, and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle—and the foundation of all her novels. A deacon, dedicated church musician and choir member, she loves to travel, read, try new recipes, and crochet. A longtime Missourian, Charlotte now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and their border collie, Vera. Please visit Charlotte online at www.CharlotteHubbard.com.

Facebook: Facebook    www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1

Order Ebook

Order Print
Zebra 
September 26, 2017
ISBN-13: 9781420138719
ISBN-10: 1420138715


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY

Charlotte Hubbard will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



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Fall into Cash $250 Giveaway!

October 15th to November 15th

The holidays are just around the corner.
Are you in need of some extra cash?
Here is your chance to win some!


The winner of this giveaway will receive $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card.

Please support these Amazing Sponsors!!

Thanks to these fabulous authors and bloggers for making this giveaway possible!


I Am A Reader
Lori's Reading Corner
The Lovely Books
Author Mary Ting
Author Melissa Wright
Kindle and Me
Coupons and Freebies Mom
Geybie's Book Blog
Helen Smith
S.T. Bende
Caroline Clemmons -- You Are Here, Thank you!
Simple Wyrdings
My Life. One Story at a Time.
Kasey’s Book Reviews and Giveaways
Author Inger Iversen
Liana Gardner
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Cynthia Luhrs Author
Bound 4 Escape
Glistering: B's Blog
Danielle Thorne Author of Classic Romance
BloominThyme Organic Gardening & Fresh Recipes
Author Felicia Starr
Christy's Cozy Corners
Rebecca Talley
The Book Referees
Author Rae Lori
Taylor Dean Books
Rachelle J. Christensen
Wendi Sotis, Author
Cool Cat Mysteries
B. Kristin McMichael
Confessions of a Frugal Mind
Hooked To Books
Rolling with the Moments
JeanBookNerd
Maureen's Musings
Author Laurie Treacy
Diana's Book Reviews
The Late Bloomer's Book Blog
AuggieTalk


Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card


Ends 11/15/17


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Friday, October 20, 2017

HERO'S PROSPERITY THEORY + FALL INTO CASH


Hero and I grew up in Lubbock in West Texas. His grandparents had a country store at a crossroads south of Lubbock. Now it might be called a convenience store, but that wasn’t what it was then.

Theirs was the grocery store for those not prosperous enough to drive into Lubbock or who didn’t want to invest the time. They had a meat counter and canned goods. I’m not sure how much fresh produce they had, but I know some was offered. Hero’s grandparents had a peach orchard beside the store. They sold gasoline also, not like the mega-stations today, but with only two pumps.

This type of grocery store didn’t have air-conditioning, so the building was warm in summer. Usually a couple of large fans turned to keep the air moving and help with West Texas’ summer heat. Fans made the store bearable but didn’t help chocolate, which got a funny white look on top even though it wasn’t melted. In summer, these stores usually stuck with several peanut products, Payday candy bars, Big Hunk candy bars, jawbreakers, etc., and Hero’s favorite—the peanut patty.




I don’t know if peanut patties are sold nation-wide or if it’s a Texas thing. If you’ve never had one, let me describe them for you. They are usually round, though some come in state shapes. The raw (shelled but unroasted) peanuts are poured into a red-colored candy then into molds.

Don’t confuse a peanut patty with peanut brittle. Different thing. Also not a praline. The candy is not as hard as brittle or as soft as a praline. Peanut patties have a one-of-a-kind taste.  

Hero noticed that in prosperous times, patties included more peanuts. In bad times, fewer peanuts meant more of the red, sugary candy. He jokes that he can tell the state of the nation’s fiscal health from a peanut patty.



What nostalgia writing this post arouses! With fondness, I can recall the smell of the old country stores. They used to sweep with some kind of oil to keep down dust and the fragrance lingered. They were usually dimly lit and carried a little of everything.

Each summer, Hero, his mom, and siblings went to stay a week or two with his grandparents to deep-clean the store. His grandparents’ home was built onto the rear of the store. Needless to say, Hero and his siblings were not fans of their forced-labor duty. Hero and his brother had to sleep on floor pallets in a screened-in porch and could see the night creatures—some of which tried to scratch through the screen.

Hero learned valuable lessons from helping his grandfather. For instance:

A customer comes in and says, “I want a pound of bologna.” You ask, “How do you want that sliced?”

A customer comes in and says, “Give me three slices of bologna.” You slice it thick. Simple law of survival.  



At the time Royal Crown Cola contained more ounces than other soft drinks, so RC was a popular drink. If you didn’t buy a bag of peanuts to pour into the bottle, you bought a big Moon Pie. I wonder if there are country stores left where people still by Moon Pies and drink a big RC?




I know peanut patties are still popular. Occasionally Hero buys one to remind him of his roots and have a yummy treat simultaneously. And, he can do an analysis of the country’s prosperity while enjoying his peanut patty.




By the way, yesterday was the release for my friend Joan Reeves' novella in the box set, A CHRISTMAS SHE'LL REMEMBER. This set includes books by seven USA Today and NYTimes bestselling authors: Joan Reeves, Mimi Barbour, Patricia Rosemoor, Tamar Ferguson, Alicia Street, Ev Bishop, and Stephanie Queen. All this for only 99 cents! Here's the link: http://a.co/8LcrFpe  








Please remember my latest releases, MISTLETOE MISTAKE (a Christmas story) and PRUDENCE, Bride Brigade book 7. You can find them on my Amazon Author Page with my other releases:

Also take note that three of my Loving a Rancher Series of the Montana Sky Series Kindle World books are on sale for only 99 cents each. They include MURDOCH'S BRIDE, BRIDE'S ADVENTURE, and THE RANCHER AND THE SHEPHERDESS. They'll be on sale all of October. 

Please pass the word! Many, many thanks to those of you who've already purchased them!








Fall into Cash $250 Giveaway!

October 15th to November 15th

The holidays are just around the corner.
Are you in need of some extra cash?
Here is your chance to win some!


The winner of this giveaway will receive $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card.

Please support these Amazing Sponsors!!

Thanks to these fabulous authors and bloggers for making this giveaway possible!


I Am A Reader
Lori's Reading Corner
The Lovely Books
Author Mary Ting
Author Melissa Wright
Kindle and Me
Coupons and Freebies Mom
Geybie's Book Blog
Helen Smith
S.T. Bende
Caroline Clemmons -- You Are Here, Thank you!
Simple Wyrdings
My Life. One Story at a Time.
Kasey’s Book Reviews and Giveaways
Author Inger Iversen
Liana Gardner
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Cynthia Luhrs Author
Bound 4 Escape
Glistering: B's Blog
Danielle Thorne Author of Classic Romance
BloominThyme Organic Gardening & Fresh Recipes
Author Felicia Starr
Christy's Cozy Corners
Rebecca Talley
The Book Referees
Author Rae Lori
Taylor Dean Books
Rachelle J. Christensen
Wendi Sotis, Author
Cool Cat Mysteries
B. Kristin McMichael
Confessions of a Frugal Mind
Hooked To Books
Rolling with the Moments
JeanBookNerd
Maureen's Musings
Author Laurie Treacy
Diana's Book Reviews
The Late Bloomer's Book Blog
AuggieTalk


Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card


Ends 11/15/17


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Thursday, October 19, 2017

FALL INTO CASH GIVEAWAY






Fall into Cash $250 Giveaway!

October 15th to November 15th

The holidays are just around the corner.
Are you in need of some extra cash?
Here is your chance to win some!


The winner of this giveaway will receive $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card.

Please support these Amazing Sponsors!!

Thanks to these fabulous authors and bloggers for making this giveaway possible!


I Am A Reader
Lori's Reading Corner
The Lovely Books
Author Mary Ting
Author Melissa Wright
Kindle and Me
Coupons and Freebies Mom
Geybie's Book Blog
Helen Smith
S.T. Bende
Caroline Clemmons -- You Are Here, Thank you!
Simple Wyrdings
My Life. One Story at a Time.
Kasey’s Book Reviews and Giveaways
Author Inger Iversen
Liana Gardner
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Cynthia Luhrs Author
Bound 4 Escape
Glistering: B's Blog
Danielle Thorne Author of Classic Romance
BloominThyme Organic Gardening & Fresh Recipes
Author Felicia Starr
Christy's Cozy Corners
Rebecca Talley
The Book Referees
Author Rae Lori
Taylor Dean Books
Rachelle J. Christensen
Wendi Sotis, Author
Cool Cat Mysteries
B. Kristin McMichael
Confessions of a Frugal Mind
Hooked To Books
Rolling with the Moments
JeanBookNerd
Maureen's Musings
Author Laurie Treacy
Diana's Book Reviews
The Late Bloomer's Book Blog
AuggieTalk


Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card


Ends 11/15/17


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

DEATH OF A KONA MAN



Death of the Kona Man
Aloha Lagoon Mysteries Book 9
by
Catherine Bruns
Genre:
Cozy Mystery

INTERVIEW WITH CATHERINE BRUNS

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Stephen King, Harper Lee, Mary Higgins Clark, KM Peyton.

What inspired you to write this book?

My publisher had the idea for a multi author series in Hawaii. I've been there twice and it's a favorite vacation destination so of course I was definitely in!

What can we expect from you in the future?

My next book scheduled for release is Silenced by Sugar and it comes out January 16, 2018. It is the fifth book in my USA Today best selling Cookies & Chance series about a woman who runs a bakery in Western New York that serves up fortune cookies with a side of foreshadowing. There's yummy recipes in that series as well as the Carrie Jorgenson books too!

Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?

Not about the characters per say but the concept for this particular series came from a play I wrote and directed for my senior project in college, over twenty something (mumble) years ago, lol.

Where were you born/grew up?

I grew up in Upstate New York and have lived there my entire life.

What makes a good story?

A writer needs to be passionate about their work and connect with their characters. A good plot is necessary as well.

How to find time to write as a parent?

I'm fortunate that I didn't start writing aggressively until my children were grown. I admire writers who can do it with small children in the house - I'm not sure that I could!

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

Since I was eight years old, I have always wanted to be a writer. I think it's just something that you're born with.

Advice they would give new authors?

Build your platform so more readers can find you.

What are they currently reading?

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was eight years old.

sWhat is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first

I do a rough outline and revise it a few times. I pretty much write by the seat of my pants, so to speak. My mind tends to go in a different direction during the actual writing process so things don't always stay the same.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in DEATH OF THE KONA MAN?

DEATH OF THE KONA MAN is the second book in my Carrie Jorgenson Aloha Lagoon series. The first book is DEATH OF THE BIG KAHUNA but they can be read as stand alones. Carrie's from snowy Vermont and in the first book, she's just arrived on the island of Kauai. She's followed her boyfriend in an attempt to save their floundering relationship. She gets a job waitressing but has no previous experience. Her dream is to be an actress some day. Carrie's had a rough life so far but is determined to persevere. While waitressing at Loco Moco Café, she meets the hot assistant manager Keanu Church. Keanu has an enormous heart and sparks fly between them from the beginning. In DEATH OF THE KONA MAN, their relationship grows closer.

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

Always at different times. Some are outlined before, and some come to me during the actual writing process.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I hate research, lol! I'm fortunate that I have several contacts who help me out, a retired police Captain, my former real estate manager and a few people in the medical field. Even though these are cozy mysteries and you can suspend belief somewhat, I like my books to be accurate and realistic.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Impatient, passionate, stubborn, determined (sensing a pattern here, lol?)

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The fact that the Aloha Lagoon series is set in Hawaii makes it so much more fun. I love my characters so every time I write a book in this series it feels like I'm coming home.

Who designed your book covers?

The entire Aloha Lagoon set of covers was designed by Estrella Designs but I have another artist for my two separate series.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I love to hear from readers. It's such a joy to know that my book has provided entertainment for a few hours so thank you so much for taking the time to read my work!



From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns 
comes the next deadly
delicious Carrie Jorgenson adventure in paradise...

Carrie Jorgenson is living the dream in Hawaii. 
She has a steady job as a
waitress at the Loco Moco Café, a hot new love interest in her
manager, and the curtain’s about to rise on her role in a local
theater production. But when she's asked to deliver food to a guest
at the Aloha Lagoon resort—who then drops dead!—her dreams
quickly become the stuff of nightmares. 

World renowned food critic Randolph Cremshaw
has no shortage of enemies.
He's rude, patronizing, and famous for his one-star reviews. After
the coffee Carrie delivers is discovered to have been poisoned, she
and the café quickly rise to the top of the suspects list. A jealous
co-worker, thefts at the restaurant, and a performance that threatens
to blow up in Carrie's face only make things worse. With an already
full plate, Carrie is also forced into making a decision that may
change everything for her. But this all pales in comparison when she
comes face to face with Randolph's killer and what might be the final
curtain call…of her life. 

Recipes
included! 



**Suggested
to Read DEATH OF THE BIG KAHUNA first!**

**On sale from Oct 10th - 17th!**




About Aloha Lagoon:

**Books can be read in any order and they're from multiple authors!**


There's
trouble in paradise...


Welcome
to Aloha Lagoon, one of Hawaii's hidden treasures. A little bit of
tropical paradise nestled along the coast of Kauai, this resort town
boasts luxurious accommodation, friendly island atmosphere...and only
a slightly higher than normal murder rate. While mysterious
circumstances may be the norm on our corner of the island, we're
certain that our staff and Lagoon natives will make your stay in
Aloha Lagoon one you will never forget! visit us at
www.alohalagoonmysteries.com



The
Aloha Lagoon Mysteries:


Ukulele Murder (book #1)


Murder on the Aloha Express (book #2)
Deadly Wipeout (book #3)

Deadly Bubbles in the Wine (book #4)
Mele Kalikimaka Murder (book #5)
Death of the Big Kahuna (book #6)

Ukulele Deadly (book #7)

Bikinis & Bloodshed (book #8)

Death of the Kona Man (book #9)


DEATH OF A KONA MAN Excerpt:
Randolph stepped back so that I could roll the cart inside. He was dressed in a dingy white undershirt and black slacks that dragged on the floor, his long, narrow bare feet poking out from underneath. I tried hard not to stare at the crusted-over toenails that screamed fungus at me.
"Welcome to my parlor, said the spider to the fly."

Yikes. For some reason, the word icky popped into my head. "Please enjoy your breakfast, sir. You can place the cart in the hallway when you're done, and one of our staff will pick it up later."

I began to walk away, and he grabbed me by the wrist. "Not so fast."

Startled by his action, I shook myself loose. "Don't touch me again."

"Sorry." Randolph gave a small smirk that said he was anything but sorry. He looked me up and down. "I'd like you to wait a moment until I'm sure the meal is to my liking."

I had news for this man—no meal was ever going to be to his liking. He lifted the covers off the plates one by one, examining the food while he grunted in apparent satisfaction. Finally, he picked up the white coffee carafe, poured himself a cup, and sniffed. Like the other day at the café, he took a small sip, grimaced, then shook his head at me. "Not quite, doll."

"Sir?" I was confused. Poncho had used his precious Kona beans this time, so what could be the problem? 

"It's cold. Bring me another carafe right away."

I couldn't believe my ears. Anger bubbled at the surface and threatened to boil over any second. What I really wanted to do was throw the entire carafe in his face, but then I'd be out of a job and, knowing Randolph, looking at a lawsuit.

"Is there a problem, dear?" 

The man clearly enjoyed the fact that he was goading me, but I was determined not to let him get under my skin. "No, sir. I'll be back in a few minutes."

"Text Chef Paunch ahead of time," Randolph taunted, "so that the coffee will be ready when you get back. That's a good little girl."

I bit into my lower lip to temper my reply. "His name is Poncho." 

"Whatever. He's got quite the paunch on him, so my name fits. And do hurry up. I haven't got all day." He sat down and started to eat, dismissing me with a wave of his hand.

Could the man be any more pretentious? I counted to ten and compressed my lips together, afraid a nasty comment might slip out between them. As I started toward the door, I spotted two half-filled mimosa glasses sitting on the table on the balcony. I wondered if good old Randy might have had a girl over last night—or perhaps his estranged wife had joined him. 

"Are you deaf?" Randolph bellowed. "I want my coffee—now!" 

With great effort, I opened the door to the suite and managed to refrain from slamming it behind me. On my way back down the hallway toward the elevator, I grabbed my phone out of my jeans pocket. My fingers flew as I texted Vivian. 

Tell Poncho that the jerk said the coffee's not hot enough. Have a new carafe ready to go when I get back. It's a wonder no one has killed this guy yet.




Catherine
is the USA Today best selling author of the Cookies & Chance
mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three
sons, and assorted cats and dogs. Catherine has a B.A. in English and
is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also
writes the Cindy York and the Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson)
mysteries. Her next Cookies Chance mystery, SILENCED BY SUGAR,
releases in January 2018.



Follow
the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!




Monday, October 16, 2017

INTERVIEW WITH LAUREAN BROOKS!

Today I’m pleased to have as my guest Laurean Brooks. She was brave enough to let me interview her. Here’s the result:

Please tell us about growing up.

I was terribly shy and a bit of a tomboy as a child. My siblings and I swung on a Tarzan-type rope hung high up in the giant oak tree, and rolled one another down the hill in a barrel. When the teacher called on me to answer a question, my face burned. The other kids turned to stare as if they'd never seen a beet-red face.

I grew up on a Tennessee farm, the fourth of seven children. We were given responsibilities at an early age. Taking care of livestock, cutting firewood, raising three gardens and 10 acres of corn (which we planted, hoed, and harvested) were a few outdoor chores we performed.

My sister and I were given assigned cooking, making the family's beds and helping Mama on wash day. We hung clothes on the wire lines Daddy had strung from post to post in the backyard, while Mama ran the clothes through the wringer washing machine.
Having few material things forced my siblings and me to be creative. My sister, Jewell, and I cut children models from the Sears catalog for our paper dolls. We spent countless hours putting on play productions, using them as our cast.

She and I would also select a book then take turns picking out 10 words from which to create a funny story. I guess this was how my love of writing began. And I still include humor in all my stories.

My brother Ralph, a few years older, had a gift for carpentry. When he was 14, he nailed together a sled from scrap lumber. It was too heavy to slide on soft snow the first winter, but when the snow became deep and packed the following winter, it sailed. A tree root halfway down the hill in our woods became a launching ramp. When the sled struck the root and it became airborne, we would hang on for dear life.It would end up sometimes in the creek at the foot of the hill.

Ralph would also take the younger ones on long walks through the woods. One day he took us to an old deserted two-story house. He told us it might be haunted, and to slip in quietly. My sister and younger brother did as told. We entered the kitchen. Inside was a table, an old wood cook stove and a few dishes, as if someone might be living there. In the corner sat a trunk. We opened the lid and found stacks of pictures inside. After we became bored, it was time to investigate the upstairs.

With Ralph in front we started ascending. About halfway up the stairs, we heard a rush. Ralph turned around and frowned, “What was that?”

Two seconds later, a slew of bats flew down the stairs, over our heads. We tore out of that house as fast as our legs would carry us and never went returned.

Married, single? Children?

Today, I have been married to a flea-market loving, auction-hopping man for 28 years. The biggest part of our vacations are spent at yard sales or inside antique/junk stores. We collectively have three children. All are grown and married. My husband has 4 grandchildren and I have one granddaughter.


Tux has cat-itude!


When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

We are Daddy and Mama to two Labrador Retrievers and a black cat. I take daily walks with the dogs and cat, weather permitting. The cat tags along, depending on his mood on that particular day. He has a cat-itude at times.


Riley

Spence


How long have you been writing?

I've been published 8 years, writing since I was 10. My first essay in 5th grade got me in trouble. Miss Mary did not appreciate my version of Columbus's expedition to the New World. I read it to the class. They went into hysterics over the scene where the natives stuffed Columbus into a cannon then shot him back across the ocean. But Miss Mary did not see the humor in it. She demanded a “more realistic” rewrite. I did the rewrite, but my classmates' eyes glazed over as I read it aloud.

Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

I need solitude and quiet. Soft music seems to help. Sometimes I write from my computer desk. But when on a deadline, I take my laptop into the bedroom, close the door, get comfortable in the recliner, and write from there.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A pantser who wants to become a plotser (a cross between the two.) I don't want a strict outline, since my story tends to take off in a different direction than I mentally planned. But I have seriously considered jotting down a loose outline that will change as I get into the story. The outline would start me at point A (the beginning), and take me to point Z (the planned ending). But B through Y (and everything in between) need to be flexible because my characters tend to take me in unpredictable directions.

Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

Both. Beforehand and as I go along. During research, I might find something of historical interest that will add flavor to the story.

Who is the most interesting secondary character you've written, and why?

Oscar Ellwood, III in JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS was a spoiled, Mama's boy, lanky and skinny, buck-toothed and wore Coke-bottle thick glasses. Oscar was an intellectual know-it-all who pursued my heroine until my hero nipped it in the bud. The guy was hilarious. You never knew what he would do or say next. And when during the mission trip his teddy bear fell out of his bag... Well, I'll just quote what a reader said, “That Oscar was a hoot.”

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.

By now you can tell I'm talkative and a people person. I love meeting people, learning about them as long as it's in a public setting. But I have a private side that demands I spend time alone. It is those times at home or during walks in the woods that ideas form for my next book.

What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

I would like my stories to entertain, to pull my readers into a different world. I want to take them on an emotional journey, make them cry and/or make them laugh. If the reader feels something and learns a life lesson from the story, it is worth the sweat and tears I've put into it.

What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Do not get discouraged. If you have a story in you, write it. Stay away from dream stealers as much as possible. Surround yourself with upbeat people who have the same goals—preferably fellow writers. Study the craft of writing. Online creative writing courses helped encourage me. Once your manuscript is completed, let a friend who scored high in grammar proof it. Then send it to a qualified editor.

What has helped you in your writing career? Did you have a mentor?

I've had fellow writers who would not let me give up. At mid-point while writing my first book, I laid it aside for months. My friend, Deb, who I met on an online writing course, kept after me to pick it up again. I finally did a year later and finished the last half of the book in weeks. Deb is still an inspiration to me.

Seeking the Lord helps me stay centered. I ask for guidance each time I start a new book. “Lord, I'm writing for You. Let every story I write honor You, and anoint my words to help those struggling with similar problems to those of my characters.

Tell us about your latest release.

NOT WHAT HE ORDERED

Blurb:

When Carrie Franklin's struggle with a drunk leaves him unconscious or perhaps dead, she flees. Forgetting the promise she made to her deceased mother, she catches the train to Abilene, leaving her feckless brother behind.

Carrie shares a seat with a young woman who confides she's a mail order bride en route to meet her fiancé. Molly's friend had also planned to be part of this adventure. But without warning Katy Davis changed her mind.

When Carrie mentions she will disembark in Abilene, Molly asks a favor. “Please explain Katy's absence to the man Katy promised to wed. It would be awful if he waited at the depot for hours.”

Wrought through a misunderstanding and her empty purse, Carrie finds herself headed toward the Kramer Ranch with Josh Kramer under the assumed name Katy Davis.

When Carrie learns through Josh's aunt that he believes she's the domestic help, Carrie realizes she had dug herself into a pit. Aunt Em will suffer if she reveals her identity.

Suspicious of Katy, Josh still finds himself falling in love. Burned once, he's sworn, “Never again.” Then he sees Katy in a moonlight conversation with his new ranch hand and suspects the worst. Are they scheming to take the Kramer ranch?

If Carrie reveals her true identity it could destroy any feelings Josh may have for her. Can Josh ever forgive her? Did Carrie kill the drunk? Is a posse trailing her? Only through God's grace can bring forgiveness and ensure a future for Carrie and Josh.

NOT WHAT HE ORDERED Excerpt:

The drunk fingered a lock of Carrie's hair. “Treat Big Jim nice and he'll show you a night you'll not likely forgit.”

He traced her jawline with a callused thumb. “Smooth as silk. Mmm, Mmm, you sure are a cute little thang. How about a little kiss for a lonely ol' man?”

Carrie flung his hand from her face. She'd never been mauled by a man and didn't aim for this to be the first time.

Big Jim dragged her closer. “You're a feisty one. What's wrong, Big Jim ain't good enough fer ya?” His hairy arm snaked around her waist, yanking her closer, and smashing her face into his sweaty shirt. If she quit struggling, maybe he would loosen his grip. Carrie paused to catch her breath and to plan her next move.

Big Jim mistook her pause for surrender. “That's more like it, gal. Just relax and give Big Jim that kiss he's been wantin'.” He slackened his hold and lowered his head. The coarse stubble of his beard stung Carrie's cheek.

Anger and adrenaline raced through her. She pushed against him, then raised her foot and kicked him in the shin.

“Ow-w-w!” He let go and hopped around on one foot, cursing under his breath. “You little wench! You'll pay!”

The menacing gleam in his eye told Carrie it was now or never. Before he could grab her again, she shoved against him. The big oaf stumbled backward to the edge of the boardwalk, flailing his arms as he hit the ground with a thud.

Carrie clenched onto the support post, a hand pressed to her pounding heart. Big Jim lay spread-eagle, flat on his back in the dusty street. A rock lay beneath his head under the dim street light. He was not moving.

Buy links are:

How can readers learn more about you?

Laurean Brooks, Author


The link to my author page, where readers can view all my books is:

My blog: Laurean's Lore: http://laureanslore.blogspot.com