Monday, February 27, 2012


Welcome LoRee! I am so honored to welcome you and your cast from the Frivolities series. I'm sure you're thrilled to have made it to book three! First, Moselle's Insurance, then Rainn on My Parade, and now Sage and Sweetgrass (which is truly my favorite). What a wonderful family this encompasses, and although they are all independent of each other (much like the women leading each story), they are indeed a wonderful combination!

For those who haven't read them already, I sincerely recommend you do! Here's a little peek at the latest - Sage and Sweetgrass .


Blurb:

Diagnosed with a chronic, debilitating illness, Lanae Petersen vows to pursue life to its fullest. When she discovers mysterious love letters hidden within an antique desk, she begins a quest to discover who the young lovers were. Little does she realize that in trying to bring closure to their lives, hers will be turned upside-down. 

After the death of his wife, cowboy Sage Diamond wants to be left alone on his acreage in peace and anonymity. When Lanae approaches him with letters to a family member, she not only threatens to expose his family secrets, but also stirs something inside him that he neither expects, nor welcomes. Sage fights his attraction, determined not to fall for a woman whose health is so fragile. Can Sage trust God's guiding hand, or will his fear of losing another love crush his chance for a future with Lanae?


Excerpt:

“But for God’s grace, I could still be caught up in that nightmare illness. I used to wonder if I would ever feel alive or die too sick to enjoy the life I have,” Lanae said. She dropped her arms and picked up the paper. Running her finger down a bolded column, she read out loud, “‘Men Seeking.’ I feel all crocheted out and full of the energy I didn’t have while I was sick. We may have opened Frivolities, but a lot of it I don’t remember. I feel like I slept through it.”

Geneva shared a look that took them back to girlhood.

Thank you, Lord, for the comfort I’ve found in words. And thank You for my sister. Lanae turned back to her newspaper reading. “This guy wants nice legs. I have those...Mmmm, here’s a cowboy.”

“Do any say if they’re Christian?” Geneva asked around the needle between her lips as she measured a length of thread.

“Not yet. Here’s an SWM, Single White Male, looking for smarts. Ohhkaaay. I might give this one an answer. He’s a ranch owner.” Mourning what could have been, Lanae rubbed a spot of newspaper dust off the soft dark leather of her recliner. A life lived out on her own ranch. “Then again, been there, done that, with my rancher.” But he died before the culmination of their life together. Lanae contemplated the word “dream,” sighed over the memory of her deceased husband, and formed a sad smile. The Lord’s timing had no explanation.

Their shop, Frivolities, was the widowed sisters’ joint business venture. When she’d seen the ad in their hometown paper listing a downtown building for sale in Platteville, she jumped at the chance to move back to where she’d been born. Geneva called Lanae in response to the same ad. Certainly seemed like God’s prompting.

“Remember, it was an ad that helped bring Frivolities into existence,” Lanae emphasized. “Look, this one says he’ll treat you like a lady. Oh boy. A Western lover—books and movies.”

“Gotta be a touch of country there.”

Lanae loved wide open spaces. She had tried to keep her husband Keith’s dream ranch alive after his death. It had slammed into her one day, the sad realization that she no longer had the resources to stick with the ranch. How she missed the expanse. “‘I’m your dream come true if you love nature and horses.’ This sounds good.” Lanae glanced at her sister. “He says he likes gospel music.”

Geneva laid the colorful fabric in her lap and gave Lanae a look as sharp as the needle she used to accent the appliqu├ęd edges. “You aren’t really going to jump on this bandwagon by answering one of those ads, are you?”

“Thinking about it. It’s better than taking a chance on one of those dot-com sites, to my way of thinking.” Lanae continued to skim the column. “Oh joy. This guy wants a woman to believe in him...and finally, it says he believes in Jesus. Can’t buy it, though. He also lists his astrological sign.”

“There you go. Satan believes in Jesus, too.”

Lanae sighed. Jesus held her future the same as He’d been with her all her life.

“And speaking of ads...” she brushed her fingers to the side.

“Find someone interesting?”

“Across the page here is a little something that would fit in the shop. Listen to this. ‘Oak dressing table. Needs refinishing. Solid. Original glass pulls on fancy drawers. Make offer.’” She raised a brow and met her sister’s glance. “Looks like a Lincoln phone number.”

“Want to check it out in the morning? Beth will be working in the shop for Moselle. If you have a cheesecake ready tonight, you’d be free to drive down to Lincoln in the morning.”

“Think I’ll give them a call later,” Lanae said as she once again buried her nose in the paper.

Besides the gifts, antiques, and frivolities the shop sold, they had an espresso machine and Lanae’s baked goods. Customers came in and experienced…no, savored, their offerings. It was a God-thing, how the idea for the crazy items—Moselle’s handcrafts, Geneva’s quilts and specialty coffees, and Lanae’s crochet and cheesecakes—had come to them at the same time when they’d each seen the building advertised. With the long state of Nebraska between them, each sister had recognized the opportunity to use her skills for profit.

She considered the Frivolities women. At the moment, her niece Moselle—the third party in theFrivolities venture—was on her honeymoon, or she’d be working on a craft designed from old items right along with them. Mondays, when the shop was closed, weren’t always for leisure. It was their practice to meet as part of their business plan and to work on their contributions to keep Frivolitiesstocked with goodies.

“They must bold these ads with large print so oldies like me can read ‘em.”

“Yeah, right. You think we’re old in our fifties? Aren’t you the one who told me we’re only as old as we think we are?”

The sisters shared a look that covered a myriad of unspoken thoughts.

“You could find yourself a man. After all, I found my Rainn. That way your guy could do the reading when your eyes go.” Geneva’s teasing held a dreamy quality.

“If my eyes go, I’ll blame it on all that crocheting I did instead of sleeping when I was sick.” Lanae flipped the page to see how many more columns the ads covered. None. The singles were confined to one page.

Review:

Just imagine, nothing to lose, living life to its fullest while clinging to God's love. Isn't this what we're all supposed to do? This is what Lanae vows to do. And in freeing herself to live, she frees herself to love - and to teach others to love as fully as she does.

I loved the mystery surrounding the antique desk and the way it tied in with Sage's family, the happenstance of it all - just the way God works in all our lives. I loved the fact that Lanae stepped out and took the chance on looking for love in such an impulsive way. And I especially loved the way she was willing to accept God's will for her life in everything from her disease to how she would spend the remainder of her life.

God bless you, Miss Peery for sharing this wonderful journey of finding love while clinging to the greatest love of all.

More about LoRee:

LoRee clings to the word overcomer and the knowledge she has victory in Jesus. When she considers being set apart as a child of God, she is humbled. She feels closest to the Lord when she worships through singing. And one thing she’s sure of: “Jesus loves me, this I know. And He will never let me go.”

You can find more of LoRee's stories at:
http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php


Buy Link:http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/sage-and-sweetgrass

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tracy Krauss - Play It Again

Play it Again By Tracy Krauss


Welcome Tracy! It's wonderful to finally have you here on my blog. I'm so glad you got through your publishing difficulties. This is a great story - one I'm very happy to be able to share.

Drum roll please...oh, I mean, drum solo...

Blurb:
Sparks fly when an ex rock and roll junkie and a stuffy accountant rendezvous at a local resort, but neither are prepared for the emotional entanglements, family complications, and a threat from the past that unexpectedly resurfaces. Set in the 1980′s, this story brings two opposing forces together in a clash of romance and danger, while its musical undertones highlight the theme that God can turn anything into beautiful music.

Excerpt:



His attention was caught by another couple on the dance floor. It was
the girl that Russ had noticed earlier, dancing with Jack Burton, the aging
saxophone player. He’d laid aside his instrument while the rest of the troupe carried on. Mismatched as they were, they seemed to dance as one with energetic abandon. And despite what Russ considered to be her somewhat unbecoming attire – cut off jeans, a turtle neck sweater and hiking boots - there was something provocative about the way she moved 
with such grace and fluidity. In fact, she was so immersed in the dance, she seemed oblivious to any onlookers.



When the song ended, the young woman and her partner retreated to her table, laughing. The other band members took a break and joined 
them. The older men seemed very familiar with her. Especially the leader. 



He placed a possessive arm about her shoulders and was leaning in close 
to whisper in her ear. Something rose up suddenly within Russ’s chest.

Disapproval? Disgust? Envy, maybe?

Review:

I've gotta tell you, Play It Again is definitely a story worth reading. Yeah, it takes you through some rough scenes, but life isn't always sweet and easy. And the path we choose to follow isn't either. 


Ms. Krauss did a great job of making the characters real - so real that I thoroughly disliked Russ through much of the story. Deanie on the other hand is definitely someone I could be friends with. She's so real, so willing to take on the world and accept her own faults and just deal with things as they come. 

Play It Again is a wonderful story with a whole lot of life lessons within those pages! And the real message is laid out plain and simple for all to see - that yes, salvation is for all, that it's not about who we are, but about who He is.

This is one of the best gospel messages I have read in a story!

About the Author
Tracy Krauss is a high school teacher by profession, and a prolific author, artist, playwright and director by choice. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has gone on to teach Art, Drama and English – all the things she is passionate about. After raising four children, she and her husband now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests.

Make a joyful noise!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Psalm 100:1.

I think we all know that music speaks to the heart - all kinds of music. Even more so when we are singing songs than listening, or "just hearing" them. Well, maybe that's more true for me than you. Only you know that. But music definitely has a direct connection to the heart.

Most of you know that I love to sing, to play the guitar, write my own music and lyrics...I just love to sing. It's such an expression of whatever I'm feeling, whatever I'm trying to share that it just pours from my heart. There are many times when I'll perform a song and when I walk away, I don't even remember the performance itself. I get totally lost in the lyrics (and the harmonies too, sometimes). It's like a message I'm sharing, or a story I'm telling - I'm fully involved, heart and soul.

So it only makes sense to me to be careful about the music I choose to listen to, and even more so what I choose to learn to sing and play. I have found myself at times getting totally caught up in a catchy, melodic tune - and then realize the words are horrible! This happened to me recently when I looked up the lyrics of a song I wanted to learn. It just sounded so nice. After reading the lyrics fully, I lost interest in the song. Now when I hear it, yes, the music still draws me, but the song saddens me.

Music must be used wisely. It's one more bit of the world that can be used to strengthen us, to mold our hearts - or it can be harmful, leading us down paths we never intended to follow. It can harden our hearts to circumstances, even mold our opinions of people and things. It's really amazing the power that music has.

As the Bible says, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matt 6:21 Have you ever heard yourself say, "I love that song!" Perhaps you ought to make sure that it's a song worth loving.

And then there are the Praise and Worship songs we sing in church - or in the car, or in the house...or wherever we go. Again, not all songs are created equal, nor do all songs do the same thing. Some songs are meant to purely honor God, some teach, some praise, some help strengthen our relationship to God and each other. Music is a part of worship, just another expression of worship. So when we sing our worship, just like when we go to our Father in prayer, we should be sure that our heart is right, and that our songs are also!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

After the Fire - Clare Revell



Welcome back, Clare! How wonderful to see you again! Thanks Donna. It's lovely to be here again. And how nice to see you're still wrapping us up in intrigue and tension! LOL Hehe, had to do something with all the left over Christmas paper and I love wrapping up.

I love the way you bend and twist a suspense filled story until it finally gives way and relieves the reader of the burden of wondering...quite a mastermind you are. Thank you. :)

How do you come up with these plots? You must spend hours just planning all the twists and turns! Actually, they tend to write themselves. I start off with a basic idea and it goes from there. With After The Fire it started with a sheet of paper I found under the bed in my idea's folder. It was a list of items found in a box that my sister had been given for homework many years ago. I'd copied it out because I liked the premise of writing the story behind the box. Took a very long time to do it but this is the result

Have you always written suspense? You seem very good at it! Blushes. My rejection folder would say otherwise lol. I love crime drama and mysteries and romance. Writing the way I do combines all of them. But yeah, I find writing straight romance really hard. Even my first attempts when I was five, were rewrites of Little Red Riding Hood, where the hero saves the heroine from the villain. (still has those cos Dad kept all my school books.) The fun bit is giving the characters as much grief as possible, scattering a few dead bodies tastefully around, and still giving the reader the satisfying happily ever after they crave.

And I hear you have a new series to come. Is that inspirational romantic suspense, also? Yes, they are. They revolve around the poem Monday's Child, with the main character having the characteristics of the same line from the poem. I'm currently working the edits for Wednesday's Child. Wednesday's Child according to the nursery rhyme is full of woe. Liam is an alcoholic, ex-missionary, who's convinced God abandoned him and his wife on the mission field when they were attacked by terrorists. The book is his journey back to sobriety, faith, and maybe love.

Together with my editor Lisa and Nicola, we redid the rhyme to fit the series. Each line is essentially the tag for the book, giving a cryptic clue but nothing more.

Monday’s Child must hide for protection,
Tuesday’s Child tenders direction
Wednesday’s Child grieves for his soul
Thursday’s Child chases the whole
Fridays Child is a man obsessed
Saturday’s Child might be possessed
And Sunday’s Child on life’s seas is tossed

Awaiting the Lifeboat that rescues the lost.

Ooh, I love it! I can't wait till those start coming out! Well you've certainly given us something to look forward to! Thank you for stopping by! Thanks for having me here today :)

After the Fire:

Private investigator, Freddie Flynn, wants nothing to do with the man who left her fifteen years ago—or the God he abandoned her for—especially if reports of corruption within high ranking levels of the P.I. firm are true. She might have to accept him as the company V.P., but she doesn’t have to trust him. Jason Bryant knows his leaving to enter the ministry cut Freddie deep, but now he’s returned to Headley Cross and wants to make amends. But Freddie’s different—jaded, distant, distrustful—so what’s he to think when a file claims Freddie is the traitor who’s sabotaging the company? Thrown together on a case that could cost them everything, including their lives, Freddie and Jason must look beyond suspicion and innuendo to catch the real traitor before it’s too late…and maybe, just maybe, they’ll find the love they once shared by listening to the still small voice that comes after the fire.

Ooh, nothing like love spurned to harbor resentment and suspicion, and she's got it in spades - on both sides! Here's a little peek:

Excerpt:

Jason stood there with an amused look on his face. “Is there something wrong?”

“Yes,” she managed, struggling to control her emotions. “I don’t have a partner. I work alone. The boss knows that.”

“You’re really not very good at taking orders are you? Maybe you need to learn.”

Freddie snorted. “If I wanted to take orders, I’d have joined the military.” She broke off. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”

Jason frowned, his eyes hardening. “No, you shouldn’t have. You can’t always have things your own way. Tell me, what do you have against a partner, Ms. Flynn?”

“I prefer to depend on myself. If I work alone, I don’t have to trust anyone, and I don’t get hurt when they let me down or betray me.”

Something flashed in Jason’s eyes and a shaft of guilt pierced her. She brushed it aside. He deserved that one. Taking a deep breath she continued, using the professional tone he’d adopted. “What did you want to see me about, Mr. Bryant?”

“The boss wants to see you. I’ll wait here. We’ll talk when you get back.”

The last thing she wanted was for him to sit in her office, touching her things. A flash of his hands running along her CD’s, putting music on her stereo, and caressing her arms, ran unwanted through her mind. “I still have to brief Sadie on all my cases. I don’t know how long I’ll be. I can’t ask you to sit here and wait.”

“You didn’t ask. I said I’d wait here.” He looked at her, hands on his hips, standing his ground. “I wouldn’t keep the boss waiting, if I were you. He doesn’t like that.”

“I know that—”

He held up his hand to stop her from further comment. “Just go. We’ll discuss your attitude to your superiors on your return. Now run along, like a good little girl. Go on, run, scoot, skedaddle, adios, vamoose...”

“Yes, sir.”


Review:

After the Fire is full of attitude - I loved it! What a spunky lead character Freddie is! She is ever on guard of her already broken heart, trying to keep it from being broken again. And on top of that, to be suspected and not trusted by the person who still holds its pieces could be devastating.

Misjudging a person is never easy to apologize for - doing it twice can be downright devastating. Jason is a man's man who stands on ethics and morals and Godly principles. But he still hasn't learned one of the golden rules - not to judge others - because what you see isn't always what it appears to be.

Great characters, great story! I loved it!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Miracles - Joanie Hileman

Wow, it's not often you get to see a husband and wife both in the top 100 books listed on Amazon at the same time!!!

As you probably know, I hosted Messages by John Michael Hileman last week, and today, I have Miracles by Joanie Hileman.

And wouldn't you know it, I couldn't even make it through the first story without crying. Nothing like a good miracle to bring on the tears. In this case an angel...and yes, I do believe in angels here on earth. And I definitely believe in miracles. I've seen/lived a few in my own lifetime.

I absolutely love Joanie's comment before she begins to share the stories:

"It took two years to get through to me, 'cause I'm not the smartest knife in the drawer, but eventually I realized God can use anyone to do anything, if only we are willing to take His hand and go where He leads. And right now, if you are holding a finished copy of Miracles in your hands, it's all God's work - because I'm not trained as a writer, and I never finish long projects."


Isn't that so typical? Have you ever heard/felt God nudge you to do something, and you just shrug it off and turn away? Well, when it's something He really wants, He doesn't let you rest. A call from God is a summons. This is something He wants YOU to do. Yeah, He could find someone else, but there's a reason He chose you. Joanie, I'm glad you answered the call. Just another miracle from God's hand, trusting that through you, He could do it.

I think we've all recognized a miracle or two in our own lives, but here, Joanie has compiled 32 stories of miracles that different people have experienced. And although all may not appear as miracles to everyone, to each person what is truly a miracle may be totally different.

I know in my own life there have been several life saving miracles that I literally saw the hand of God guide/cover/protect me. Come share in a few miracles from other people's lives - perhaps it will help you to see the miracles He performs in yours!


Blurb:

A dying child counts angels in her room. A teenage boy stuns doctors by recovering from a massive brain injury. A bubble of protection surrounds a man about to be hit by a car...These miraculous accounts and twenty-nine more are recorded in Miracles: 32 True Stories.

Review:

Miracles is a wonderful compilation of stories that have been shared with Ms. Hileman. Several of them touched me deeply, and many others brought a feeling of thanks for God's wonderful mercy in our lives. I think this is definitely a book worth reading, especially if you can't see what God does for you each and every day.









Thursday, February 9, 2012

Samaritan - Robin Bayne

Welcome back, Robin! Congratulations on your newest release! What a pleasure to read another of your stories and be able to share Samaritan  on its first day! I'm beginning to think of you as the teacher of life's lessons through your wonderful stories - and obviously this is no exception.

Blurb:

Tim Gardner has worked hard to rebuild the family business after his older brother nearly destroyed it. He’s restored the clientele base and the restaurant's reputation. But if Rachel Martin can’t get her act together, she won’t fulfill his orders for the Gardner’s Gazebo signature dessert, a gold-leaf cheese cake, which also happens to be Rachel’s secret recipe. When Rachel Martin's partner abandons their bakery and catering business to study with the master chefs in Paris, she's left with nothing but bills and obligations-and no one in Portlandville seems able or willing to help her. No one except for Timothy Gardner, and she knows the handsome young man is only after one thing—her cheese cake. But as she gets to know him, during her time of need, she wonders if maybe there’s a little bit more in the mix. And as Tim gets to know Rachel, he finds himself wanting to be her Good Samaritan--permanently.

Excerpt:

Rachel’s spine straightened, and she squeezed the bridge of her nose before taking the envelope. Willing her hands not to tremble, she opened the unsealed flap and shook out two crisp sheets of folded paper. While Sandy waited, Rachel began to read silently.

My Dearest Rachelle,
I’m so sorry to depart so abruptly, but I’ve accepted a once-in-a-lifetime offer to study under France’s top pastry chef. What an opportunity! I had to leave immediately or risk losing the position, and I apologize for everything, but I must find my true calling. Enclosed is a letter for the bank, giving you full access to the company account. Say farewell to dear Sandra for me, and have a wonderful life using your incredible culinary talents. You’ve been a marvelous partner, but this is what I must do with my future.

Au Revoir, Davie.

Rachel lowered the page. The smell of baking bread permeated the small shop, which she usually loved. Now it seemed to gag her.

What about what she wanted? Had Davie even considered that? What about her future?

"What are you thinking?" Sandy asked, studying Rachel through narrowed eyes.

Rachel sighed, jiggled her knees and pinched her nose again. What was she thinking? She mentally calculated the cost of the new equipment she’d just ordered, the large supply of goods on their way and the catering jobs lined up for the next few weeks. Silently she gave Sandy the note and pushed her chair back from the table with a scrape of wood across wood.

She paced from the counter to the glass front door, running her hand across the clean, smooth surfaces. Her stomach remained down near her toes and now burned with the adrenalin of panic. What was she going to do without Davie? This was his business, his life—he’d hired her right out of high school because she could decorate a complex, three-tiered wedding cake like a pro. Everything else she knew about food preparation, booking jobs, and organizing parties had come from him—had been his area of expertise.

"So what now?" Sandy’s brows knit together in concern, her worried expression fortifying the pounding in Rachel’s temples.

"I’m not sure."

Review:

Caught up in the mess left by the owner of the company, Rachel has to find a way to make a go of it on her own. Dealing with one crisis after another she shows her strength of character and her willingness to do whatever she needs to because she is fully committed running the shop on her own.

Tim has a lot at stake too, and goes through some major internal battles between what's best for the restaurant, as well as what's right - and what's best for himself personally. Toss a bit of emotional attraction into the mix and sometimes it's hard to know what he should do.

What a wonderful story of learning to be independent and self-reliant - and then realizing there's more to life. Learning to lean on God and to trust others is a lot of work and it can get a bit confusing sometimes trying to figure out what's best for everyone.

Great job, Robin! I loved it!



Robin Bayne is the award-winning author of six novels and five novellas, along with a variety of short stories. She has contributed to collections including God’s Way for Teens, God’s Way for Fathers and Cup of Comfort Devotionals; and published articles in Writer’s Journal and Christian Communicator. She has given workshops at regional and online romance writing conferences and the Writer’s Digest World’s Largest Writing Workshop. She lives in Maryland with her husband of twenty-one years, and works a "day job" at a community savings bank. Robin recently compiled a book of devotionals for writers titled.

You can find out more about Robin at:  www.robinbayne.com


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Messages - John Michael Hileman

Today I'm thrilled to have John Hileman here, the author of Messages.

I've got to tell you, this is one author I'll be watching for! Talk about a book that hooks you start to finish!
Please, John, more stories, please!

Blurb:

David Chance can see messages in the sea of words around him, messages that warn him of future events.

Words are everywhere-- on labels, magazines, sign posts, t-shirts-- everywhere. And as much as David Chance would like to hide from them, he can't. Words keep leaping off objects around him, forming messages in his mind. But how is this possible? Has his brain suddenly taken an evolutionary leap forward, or are the mysterious messages proof of divine intervention?

Driven to answer a question he'd long ago abandoned, and stalked by the killer he's trying to stop, David risks everything to follow the messages to a dirty bomb set to go off in the heart of Boston. But can he trust the author of the messages to protect him from a terrorist who seems to know his every move.


Excerpt:

It was a little after 1:30, and it was David’s odious job to meet with the lead producer and the on-line editor to work on a story for the 6:00 news block. David’s role was minor, write down the time-code marks as dictated by the producer, and log what he saw on the screen. It didn’t require a whole lot of concentration, so usually he found himself fending off waves of drowsiness. His creative mind was well suited for accomplishing large abstract tasks, but less than adequate at mundane repetition.


The editor cued the tape. The television monitor flickered and rolled and let off its familiar audio squeal. David logged the starting time-code as the producer began the pre-edit strategy, then leaned back in his chair, awaiting instructions.


He stared at the screen, then heaved a sigh and looked around. This is SO mind numbingly boring! Maybe I can find something to read. He scanned the room, and a notion struck him. His eyes drifted from a coffee mug which read, “Number One Producer,” to a sign on the wall, “Be All You Can Be,” to a monitor displaying the program logo, “In The Know.” From each source he drew a word and constructed a sentence. One Can Know. He smiled to himself; he hadn’t expected to come up with an actual working sentence.


Still bored, he made a second go. His eyes scanned the room and extracted words from the sea of text around him. Will from the Will & Grace poster, exit from the exit sign, needs from a posted letter to employees, and tape from a label indicating Reusable Tape Stock. The sentence solidified in his mind. Will exit needs tape.


The producer turned to David, interrupting his game. “Hey, Chance, could you go get me a tape from my desk. It’s marked...” He paused. “Know what, never mind. I’ll go. There’s something else I have to do anyway.” The producer stood and exited the booth, leaving David in stunned silence.


“What’s wrong with you?” asked the editor.


David offered a weak smile. “Ah––nothing, just something stupid.”


The editor shrugged and turned back to the video gear.


David sat motionless and stared. Did I just predict that? The incident replayed in his mind. I think I did! I predicted the future!


He shook his head. No. It was only a coincidence. It had to be.


David turned the little car down a side street and gunned the engine. Four more blocks and he would be on the Interstate, hopefully just ahead of rush hour traffic.


As he drove, the mysterious incident continued to nag at him. He wanted to dismiss the whole thing as nothing more than a fluke, but he just couldn’t reconcile the fact that the words had been there for him to string together, and his eyes were drawn straight to them. There was no premeditation. He wasn’t even trying to make a sentence. ––Still, it had to be a coincidence.


He scanned the sea of words zipping by outside his window. They beckoned to him from road signs, marquees, window signs... There were plenty of potential sources for a test, perhaps he could give it another shot. After all, a couple of bona fide failures would set his mind at ease.


He looked left through the wiggling rivers of water on his window. “Your One Stop Shop.” And right, at an old barn board. “On Sale Now!” His mind pulled out the words Stop Now! He hit the brake, and the car went into a skid.


The driver in the Mustang behind him laid on the horn, swerved out around, and gunned his engine. David, unable to pull his eyes away, watched the vehicle tear off down the road. As it passed through a green light, an eighteen wheeler ran the red and plowed into the little car from the side. Metal buckled, and windows exploded as both vehicles slid left and disappeared behind a row of buildings.


David sat wide-eyed, gripping the steering wheel, unable to catch a full breath. His heart pounded in his ears, his thoughts a flurry of panic. With a trembling hand, he pushed the door open and stepped out onto the street. Car horns competed with car alarms, and off in the distance a siren wailed.


But to David, it was all a hollow drone.

5 Star Review

If I could make it more than five stars I would. What a fantastic story! The pace never slows down, just picks up speed all the way. And it's amazing how one little thing from the beginning is a huge tie into the end. Phenomenal! Very well done! He kept it all close to his chest and didn't give anything away until the end.

I was going to compare him to another inspirational suspense writer, but you can draw your own conclusions. John Michael Hileman can certainly stand out on his own!

Honestly, if you don't pick this one up, you're really missing out!

You can find more about John and his work at: http://www.christianfantasyauthor.com/

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Messages-ebook/dp/B005ECT8DO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328705724&sr=1-1

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Resurrected Love - K.M. Daughters

K.M. Daughters is the award winning writing team of sisters, Pat Casiello and Kathie Clare. Their penname is dedicated to the memory of their parents: Kay and Mickey Lynch, the "K" and "M" in K.M. Daughters. "The Daughters" are wives, mothers, and grandmothers. Kathie lives in northern New Jersey and Pat lives in the Chicago suburbs. White Rose Publishing inspirational romance titles by K.M. Daughters include Jewel Of The Adriatic, Rose Of The Adriatic and the Gospa Journeys series. "Love heals..."

Welcome, ladies! I've just got to know, how on earth do you write a story together when you live so far apart?

Two critical ingredients are required for our team writing: American Airlines and email. We always brainstorm story lines, character development, and action sequences while we're together – usually walking on the Illinois Prairie Path (near Pat's home), on the sidewalks of Rutherford (our home town and Kathie's home) or along the Nags Head beach (Kathie's favorite vacation spot). We always sit still long enough to write a plot map or outline. We divide up writing responsibility for alternating chapters (such fun – even though we're a team we write all POV's), and then we each "go home", say a prayer and write.

And do you ever disagree on where a story is going? How would you resolve that?

We can't recall specific disagreements, so they must be minor. When we were little, however, frequent nosebleeds were involved…Pat's, Kathie wants to add. Since our brainstorming sessions last as long as they last, we're pretty certain about where we're heading with a story before we begin writing the first draft.

LOL You bully! Nosebleeds, huh? Shame on you!

Do you have certain parts of the writing and editing that each of you do, and does that ever vary?

We alternate chapter writing responsibility and edit each other's chapters as the first draft is created. Pat keeps the master manuscript and she line edits the entire manuscript, also, during the draft stage. Once we complete writing the first draft, Pat does another wholesale edit and then we get together for a read through – aloud. This gives us the opportunity to edit together. We rarely deviate from this process, although occasionally we'll write two sequential chapters, or flipflop responsibility if the characters talk to one of us more than the other at that point.

We're very different women in many ways – for instance, as writers, Kathie hears her characters most often and Pat clearly sees them. But we are extremely connected and similar in all the ways that matter to us. We share a strong faith in God and strive to perfect our relationship with Him in our daily lives. Our inspirational novels and novellas allow us to celebrate our shared love of God and venerate His love for all of us.

Well, what a pleasure it is to have you here. And I see you've brought along your lovely story Resurrected Love. I really enjoyed it and I'm oh so happy to share a little bit about it, with your permission of course...

Well, of course we don't mind...as long as you say something nice.

LOL Makes me think of Bambi and Thumper...if you ain't got nothin' nice to say...

But fortunately I have NOTHING BUT nice things to say about this story!


Blurb:

Jack and Beth Dunne travel separately to Valselo on a good-will pilgrimage to support a local orphanage. Jack uses philanthropy as an excuse to see Beth again after bitterness and grief separated them following the funeral of their five month old son three years ago. Forever soulmates, despite the seemingly impenetrable barriers they have erected between them, will they find the courage to forgive and fix their marriage? Or will they selflessly love enough to let each other go?

Excerpt:

"Mind if we sit for a minute?" Father Mark asked casually, as he turned his head towards the

seating arrangement in the forefront of the office. In a flash, the priest occupied one of the two Barcelona chairs.


Jack joined him reluctantly, the checkbook dangling from his hand.

"I’d like you to go on a trip with me," Father Mark said. ‚For now, I’ll just need one thousand, five hundred, ninety-nine dollars. That covers everything, including air fare."

"What?" Askance, Jack peered at him. "Father...my schedule...what’s the destination?"

"Croatia near the Adriatic. There’s an orphanage there in a village called Valselo, which translates roughly as sea valley. It’s a very special place, run by sisters who lovingly raise children to adulthood, rather than seeking adoptive parents for them. The area is too poor to offer a pool of prospective parents for these orphans, so foreign adoption is the only option. The Valselo visionaries founded the orphanage. They insist that these children should be raised in their culture, believing that foreign adoption would rob the country of its future. The orphanage needs a furnace...and that’s only the beginning."

Relief eased tense muscles and Jack relaxed against the soft leather. "I don’t have a single qualm about giving you any amount that would satisfy you, Father. I’d be glad to help right now. I don’t need to evaluate this place personally."

"Thank you, Jack. And I’ll gladly accept any donation you see fit. But I still want you to write that check and come with me. We leave Friday."

Jack knit his brows. "I’m sorry. But that’s impossible."

"Do you know that Beth works at St. Mary’s? She runs the business office for me."

A myriad of emotions coursed through him, shame foremost. "No...I..." How could he explain the wall of silence between them that had grown ever higher, and more impenetrable?

"This is Beth’s favorite charity, Jack. She pours all the money you send her into it and others like it. She’ll be among the members of the group I’m taking there."

My Beth. My love. The chasm in his heart widened. Guilt and grief winged inside him like swarms of angry insects. "Father, don’t make me talk about this."

A warm hand covered his. "I won’t. But trust me, Jack? Come on this pilgrimage."

"I haven’t spoken to Beth since the funeral. We’ve been separated for three years. She doesn’t want anything to do with me. We can’t get past this, Father." Tears stung the corners of his eyelids at the admission.

His gaze soft, Father Mark squeezed Jack’s hand. "Do you love your wife?"

Jack heaved his chest. "I adore her. But I can’t face her."

"Have I ever asked the impossible of you, Jack?"

"Not really." He grinned, despite the distress talking about Beth engendered. "But at the time, it felt like it."

"You can face her. And you should." FatherMark slipped his hand away and rose from his seat.

"Plus, I want you to bring that checkbook, son."

I love it!!!

Review *****

This is such a wonderful story! The beauty of Valselo, not just in the scenery, but in the people sharing this wonderful pilgrimage is amazing. And the hope and joy that seeps from the pages is something you don't find every day, just another one of His miracles, I think.

Pick up a copy, you won't regret it!

Mattie's Meltaways - Mattie and Tyler

Oh, I'm so sad this is the last day of our visits, Mary! I can hardly imagine how you must feel with the series coming to an end. I have so enjoyed spending time with the whole cast of this series (not to mention enjoying a morning coffee and treat with you and them). Well, since this is the crown jewel I suppose we ought to get started.

"Morning ladies, I'm sorry but Tyler can't be here this morning. He was helping at a fire in the next town over for most of the night."

"Oh, I hope everyone's okay."

She nodded. "Yeah, they think it was kids smoking in an old barn. It's sad how little attention some parents pay to their kids. Oh well." Mattie pointed to the corner. "Your favorite table's ready and your waitress will be out in a minute."

I look to Mary for a second. "Really, you don't need to wait on us. We know you're all busy--"

"Just sit."

I raised my eyebrows and sat along with Mary. "Can tell she's the mama bear of the clan," I whispered.

"I heard that," she said without even turning around. She whispered something else but I missed it. Then a pint sized waitress stepped out from behind the counter carrying a tray of muffins. "Mattie said you like the blueberry ones best so she made some special for you."

"Oh, thank you sweetie. You must be Jess."

She nodded.

"Would you like to have one with us?"

Jess stared over her shoulder.

"You can have a piece, then you have to get ready for school," Mattie answered with a smile as she set the coffee cups down on the table and poured what smelled like heavenly hazelnut.

I glanced down at Jess as she climbed up on the chair. "Do you remember how your dad and Mattie met?"

Jess nodded and peeked at Mattie. "Um hmmm. Daddy saved Mattie and she made me a chocolate cake."

Mattie laughed. "Okay, let's not give away any more secrets. And it's time to get you to the bus."

She brushed her hands together over the plate then wiped her mouth with a napkin when she finished chewing. "Nice to meet you. Come back soon," she said with a wave as she stepped out the door holding Mattie's hand.

We both sighed. "Well, I guess that's it, Mary. It's been a pleasure getting together here at the bakery and meeting your special friends. I hope to see you again soon."

And I'm sure we will!


Here's the blurb to the last of the Sweet Treats Bakery stories:

Mattie Spencer has spent the last decade raising her three younger and grooming Sweet Treats Bakery into a thriving business. Over the years, she's watched her sisters grow into beautiful women and find the men of their dreams. Now it's her turn, but, at thirty-five, she feels too old to dream of a husband and children of her own. Tyler Jacobs, a firefighter in the small town of Mount Ridge, keeps busy raising his seven-year-old daughter. The death of his wife during three years ago still haunts him, but morning stops into Sweet Treats, along with a dose of conversation and a handful of Mattie's delicious mint meltaways, kindle a desire he thought was extinguished forever. Now Tyler has just one goal--to convince Mattie that love knows no age.



Excerpt:

“One muffin, or two this morning?”

“Make it two, both to go. I’m running a bit late. Jessie forgot her reading book at the house, and we had to rush back for it.” He pulled a paper napkin from the dispenser on the counter. “And then we realized Nibbles—”

“Jessie’s new hamster, right?”

“That’s right.” He rolled his eyes and grinned. “Well, Nibbles escaped from his cage, so we had to launch a search and rescue.”

Mattie laughed. “Was the mission successful?”

“Barely. Fluffy had him cornered in the laundry room.”

“Oh, no. Not the cat.”

“Yes, the cat.” Tyler loosened the zipper on his leather jacket and tugged the collar from his neck. “Anyway, after I calmed Jessie, she insisted on giving Nibbles a good talking to, then Fluffy, too, before we could leave again. Then we were a few blocks from the house when—”

“Let me guess…you realized you forgot the reading book, again.”

“Right.” He groaned and ran a hand across the crown of his head. “I think I have a few new gray hairs.”

“You look fine to me.” Better than fine. Mattie turned her attention to the display case. “But that was some way to start a morning. Sounds like you’ve earned your breakfast.”

“You can say that again.” He sighed and propped his elbows on the counter, leaning in. “And I’ve been looking forward to your apple-cinnamon muffins. Nothing better to quell my appetite.”

“Coming right up.” Mattie reached for a foam cup, poured a robust house blend. Her hands shook as Tyler trained his gaze on her, his deep brown eyes like rich, chocolate coins, and a bit of the cloudy brew splashed onto the hot burner, hissed and spat.

“You OK?” Tyler bolted around the counter and took the carafe from her. He set it back on the burner and reached for her hand. His long fingers grazed her palm, her wrist. “Did it burn you?”

“No. I’m fine.” She waited while he lifted her hand for a closer inspection. Her breath came in small gasps as his fingers gently skimmed hers.

“Well…it looks OK.” He nodded and let her fingers slip from his. “What’s got you so jittery this morning, Mat?”

“Nothing.” Mattie shrugged and brushed damp palms across her apron. The coffee hadn’t burned, but his touch sure had. She turned from his gaze and trembled as the rich brew filled the shop with the aroma of hazelnut and vanilla. With a quivering voice she diverted his attention to something—anything—else.

Review:
Oh, how sweet to watch the love of a father, wanting only what's best for his child- and it comes naturally to Mattie to be a bit of a mother figure to her, too. After all, she's had plenty of experience with it.

But her feelings aren't just for the child. When Tyler saves the bakery, he secures a place in her heart, a place she hadn't even realized was empty until he filled it.

Once again, Ms. Manners has done a wonderful job of drawing us in to the lives of this warm family. How wonderful to see them all finally settled, and how sad to see the end of this series. Thank you for sharing them with us! It's been very sweet!

Mary Manners is an award-winning author of inspirational romance who lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and teen-aged daughter. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.

During the school year, she teaches middle-schoolers reading and Algebra. In her free time, she likes to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

Visit Mary at www.marymannersromance.com