Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blog Tour: Undiscovered Treasures

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Caroline Gibson is co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, a shop of antiques, collectibles, and junk in rural West Virginia. Inside the shop is a music box that Caroline particularly relates to, believing that her own life is similar: forever spinning and never going anywhere.

She dreams and prays for the right man to turn up. But when family and friends hint that the local artist could be the guy, Caroline forgets about trusting God and takes matters into her own hands.

Besides, she could never love a man who paints such depressing pictures.

Andrew Carrington, painter of said depressing pictures, insists there’s always one redeeming trait to each of his works.

He’s loved Caroline since they were kids and thinks he’s not handsome enough, strong enough, or rich enough to impress this woman. But when God—or is it?—suddenly sends contracts begging for his signature, Andy thinks this just might be the way to win the only woman he can ever love.

But there’s a hitch in their plans. Someone is stealing Andy’s pictures, and why would they do that when he’s an unknown–so far? Do they know something Caroline and Andy don’t know? Is it mischief? Or something deeper that neither understand? Andy gets the chance to work with Caroline, and she must put aside her on-going battle to avoid Andy and his art so they can discover the art thief in Appleton before Andy loses the chance of a life time to ‘make it big.’

About the Author

Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Guest Post from Carole Brown

Fun Tidbits About Undiscovered Treasures (Book Three of the Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery series) By Carole Brown
  • Why did I write this book? Several years ago, my agent urged me to write a romance novel for a certain publishing group. I did, and while I was at it, decided to write about three friends, all living in the made up town of Appleton, WV. Each had their own story, but the romance books didn’t go anywhere (because I’m not a “per se” romance writer. But when a current editor asked me for a new series, I thought about these three books and wondered if I could turn them into light mysteries. Ta da: the Appleton, WV series was born!
  • How much of myself do I put into my books? Almost always little dabs of this and that. I love antiques and flea markets, cats, flowers (including Caroline’s favorite: daisies) and coffee. If I drink tea, I’m a Tea Snob (same as Caroline). I’m clumsy and fall over practically nothing (Caroline too!).
  • What is your main characters like? In Undiscovered Treasures, Caroline Gibson, is a “home-town” girl. She doesn’t have a lot of confidence in her own looks, is clumsy, and sometimes quite outspoken. But she’s loyal, trustworthy, and soft-hearted, always watching out for the “underdog,” helps her brother run a successful business, writes plays, and oversees the local youth organization at her church.
  • Andy Carrington, on the other hand, is quiet, but confident in his own abilities, friendly, a dedicated Christian, and an up-and-coming famous artist. He’s best friends with Caroline’s brother, and grew up with him and Caroline. Best of all, he’s loved Caroline forever and trusts God to direct his and her life.
  • Where did I get the title for this book? When I plotted for the third friend (Caroline), I decided a junk/antique/collectibles store would be fun and unique. It also fit her personality. Having a brother and sister run the store worked well with the plot and giving them both a bit of wittiness added interest to the novel. I also thought this title played into the emotional love story part of the plot. Caroline, always dreaming of a real live prince for her life, doesn’t realize that she already has one. It’s only when she discovers Andy’s virtues that she finally clasps the truth: Andy is her treasure, chosen by God, just for her.
  • Why a cat in the story? It played into Caroline’s personality very well. I can just see her volunteering at the local pet shelter. Angel, the cat, also was a ready (or not) listener when Caroline needed a sounding board.
  • How does the music box play into the plot? It’s a constant reminder–and not a very welcome one–that her life is somewhat unsatisfactory. She thinks it’s because she doesn’t have a “prince” riding up to save her from a mundane existence, but really, it’s more like the proverbial ostrich inserting his head into the sand, and unwilling to accept the will of God for her life.
  • Why have Caroline travel out of the U.S. when she’s such a homebody? Having her travel, which she isn’t totally fond of, forces her to climb out of her comfort zone. She knows what she has to do–make an apology–whether everything turns out the way she wants it to or not, and because she has to travel a distance, she has plenty of time to ruminate on her “follies.” Overall, a good disciplinarian action for her.
  • Is there a spiritual thread? Yes. Accepting God’s will for our lives. We can’t make things happen the way we want, and if we force the issue, most times, it turns out to be an unsatisfactory situation. Caroline has to learn that, and once she does, she couldn’t be happier.

Blog Stops

November 30: autism mom
November 30: Carpe Diem
December 1: Quiet Quilter
December 3: On Jenna’s Shelf
December 4: Pause for Tales
December 6: bigreadersite
December 8: Karen Sue Hadley
December 9: A Reader’s Brain
December 10: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 11: Blogging With Carol


To celebrate their tour, Carole is giving away a themed basket including (but not limited to) 2 kitchen towels, 4 fun coasters, a travel journal w/ photo frames, a “happiness” picture, a recipe box and recipe cards, a fridge magnet, a magnetic phone list w/notepad, and a print copy of Undiscovered Treasures! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mystery Monday: Kurt Steel

Mystery Monday: Who was Kurt Steel?

Doesn't Kurt Steel sound like a great name for a Detective? In reality it was the pseudonym for mystery writer Rudolph Kagey who published ten novels between 1935 and 1943. All but one of the books feature Hank Hyer, former welterweight boxer turned private detective. (Now there's an interesting protagonist!). The Hyer series was very popular, and two of the stories were made into movies: Murder Goes to College and Partners in Crime.

Born in 1904 in the small town of Tuscola, IL, Kagey grew up in Flint, Michigan where his father was a successful banker with Guaranty Title and Mortgage Company. A professor at New York University, according to The Passing Tramp, Kagey came from a long line of educators. I couldn't find any information as to why he chose to write mystery novels, nor how he managed to get two of them turned into films before he died at the young age of 41. He left a wife and young daughter when he passed away.

His "hard-boiled detective" pre-dates Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe by a few years. Hank is described on the back cover of the Dell edition of Judas, Incorporated as a "tough and well-muscled private investigator, takes himself and the world with adequate salt, and rarely allows sentiment to intrude upon the fundamentals of life. Hyer likes things stirred up and is not adverse to giving fate a stimulated prod. Only a fat fee check can lure him from Broadway."

The only standalone novel Kagey published as Kurt Steel was The Imposter which tells the story of a man who goes up against a Nazi spy ring as he doubles for his double. Here's what the Kirkus review had to say about the book in their July 1942 review: Morgan, key airplane power, finds the corpse of an impersonator in his room, and rightly deciding that the wrong man has been killed, takes on the alias of his impersonator. The alias leads him to a clique of Nazi penetrators, with whom Morgan plays a fast game of ball as he circumvents them. Fancy, fictitious, but fun as these things go."

Sounds like we found another great writer from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Jenna Victoria

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Jenna Victoria

I'm pleased to introduce you to Jenna Victoria, author of the newly released War of the Heart. Thanks for visiting, Jenna!

Linda:  How long have you been writing, and when did you decide to pursue publication?

Jenna: Back in the year of the dinosaurs (ha!) I began first in non-fiction as a reporter for my high school newspaper. I pursued journalism studies in college and worked as a reporter for many years before switching to write romantic Christian fiction. I've always felt God wanted me to use my abilities for His glory.

LM: Where did you find your inspiration for your story?

Jenna: In War of the Heart, with the help of a holiday snow globe, my American heroine Louise and British hero George go back in time to 1940's England. They, along with all of the country, face incredible deprivation and trials during Christmas in WWII-- yet their collective spirit is one of hope and incredible patriotism. I sensed many people today needed to read a story with that same message of encouragement and perseverance, as life is hard.  

LM: Do you have an unusual research story to share?

Jenna: I disliked history in school, but was immediately drawn to details of "Blitzmas" in London, as the holiday season became known, in December 1940. I wanted to be accurate in my overall depiction. Every moment of newsreel footage and every photograph showed Londoners filled with hope and ingenuity, going about their days and fearful nights with optimism. They carried boxes with gas masks when they went outside and made meals out of the few ingredients allowed in rationing, yet were determined to carry on. I was especially encouraged by photographs of parties being held in tube (subway) stations used as bomb shelters on Christmas eve, with children being thrilled with makeshift decorations and sightings of Father Christmas. I wrote a (hopefully) realistic party scene taking place in one of those tube stations on Christmas eve as these stories touched my heart.

LM: The age old question for writers-are you a “pantster” or a plotter?

Jenna: I used to proudly wave my "write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" pantser flag but have realized it causes me more editing problems later if I don't at least plot out each chapter in a general way ahead of time. So now I'm a hybrid flag waver.

LM: What is your favorite scene in the story?

Jenna: Louise and George try to use the same method of returning to the current time period as they encountered while being sent to 1940 to begin with. Let's just say things don't go as planned. It was fun writing about their attempts. I'll let the readers find out if they are successful or not. 

LM: What is your next project?

Jenna: I'm finishing up "Love Among the Lilacs," a contemporary love story where two elderly spinsters meddle in the lives of their beloved nephew and a skittish, pretty stranger in Grady Cove, New York.

LM: What are your passions outside of writing?

Jenna: I use social media to inform women about metastatic breast cancer (MBC for short), which affects 30% of patients who receives a breast cancer diagnosis. More than 40,000 women die every year, with virtually no research dollars going towards MBC. We call it the "pink" secret. We are already aware of breast cancer. We need to move from education to a cure!
I've been a recurrent metastatic breast cancer patient for over four years now. God has given me strength to get through each surgery and continuing chemo treatment--even today--with praise and giving Him all the glory for every blessing in life. Most of all that I am still here.

Linda: What else do you want folks to know about you?

Jenna: I'm a sucker for a happily-ever-after, whether in romance books or in movies but I also enjoy action-adventure films where good overcomes evil. So if you  ever want someone to watch a rerun with you of Sleepless in Seattle, a Hallmark Channel flick (especially at Christmas!), The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars,  or any Marvel superhero blockbuster (Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man), I'm your girl!

Connect with Jenna:
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Monday, November 28, 2016

Thankful for our Readers!

Thankful for our Readers!

Join Celebrate Lit and guest authors as we show our thankfulness to YOU - our readers. Chat with authors, enter to win great prizes, find out about new books, and more! The grand prize is a $75 Amazon gift card.

It is a two day event that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. It begins at 10:00 AM (Eastern time) on Monday, November 28 and ends at 8:00 PM (Eastern time) on Tuesday, November 29.

Each author gets a thirty minute time slot. My time slot is Monday, November 28 at 6:00 PM (Eastern time). Hope to see you there!

Click HERE to attend the event.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Blog Tour: Finding Margo

Blog Tour: Finding Margo

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Off the charts and on the run.

International pop star Margo Hartman could use a night off. A grueling tour and overbearing entourage have sent her over the edge. It’s time for this diva to disappear. And who would think to look for the superstar in a small town in Ohio?

Sheriff’s deputy Brock Moore is undercover as well. He knows Margo isn’t who she appears to be, but her uncanny resemblance to a local Amish woman is raising all sorts of questions . . . the kinds that make her a target for a killer.

Both are determined to find answers, but their mutual attraction stands in the way of either of them doing it alone. Is finding Margo the solution to Brock’s problems or the just the beginning . . . ?

My Thoughts

Jen Turano is a multi-book published author, but Finding Margo is the first of her stories I’ve read. I was drawn in immediately and enjoyed getting to know the plucky Margo Hartman who is up against her formidably meddling mother and over-achieving assistant. Stuck in the small Amish town of Millersburg, Margo meets an interesting cast of characters who can’t quite figure her out, least of all deputy Brock Moore. Brock is dealing with his own issues, but must set them aside when an attempt is made on Margo’s life. The dialogue is clever, and I laughed out loud on several occasions. Vivid description enabled me to imagine the community and its surrounding area. This is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading the next book.

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required, and all views expressed are my own.

About the Author


USA Today best-selling author Jen Turano writes contemporary and historical romances with quirky characters and unusual storylines. Just outside Denver, Colorado, Jen and her husband live as empty-nesters, and they do so fabulously. Contact Jen at

Guest Post from Jen Turano

The Making of “Finding Margo”

By Jen Turano

To say that my entrance into the publishing world was a tad difficult is certainly an understatement. My very first attempt at writing was centered around a middle grade book, specifically written for my son who was in the third grade at the time. After finishing that, and sending it out to all of five companies, none of whom represented middle grade, I then moved on to young adult with a little more interest sent my way, but no success story to report in the end. Not one to embrace the idea of complete and utter failure, I then tried my hand at a contemporary romance, moved on to what I assumed was a delightful regency romance, but one that turned out to be not that delightful, at least according to numerous agents, and finally landed on gilded age stories, filled with quirky heroines. That is when I finally received my very first publishing contract, which then saw me catapulted into the very weird world of publishing. After completing the second gilded age story of my two-book contract, I found myself with some time on my hands as I waited to see if anyone would read my stories, which might then result in an offer of additional book contracts. As I waited, I decided I might as well keep writing, so decided to try another contemporary story, although my agent at that time suggested I try to write an Amish book since she had numerous requests from publishers for those specific books. Because my writing voice is not what anyone might consider normal, I really didn’t believe I’d be able to do justice to an authentic Amish story.

Because of that, I settled on the idea of writing a contemporary romantic suspense, being a huge fan of that genre. I had a vague notion of exploring a theme centered around a dog walker who might stumble on a body while walking her pack of dogs, or perhaps have a storyline that centered around a makeup artist who witnessed a crime while setting out her makeup for a client, but those ideas went straight away when I pulled out the vacuum one fine day.

Vacuuming, as well as staining the deck, cleaning the shower, and power-washing the garage, are my go-to activities when I need to get the muse working right before I start a first draft. On that particular day, as I pushed the vacuum around the house, I suddenly had the most intriguing idea – an idea that started off with two delightful little words…What…and…If.

That was all it took for a premise to begin festering through my mind, a fester that grew into this – What if three Amish children were stolen straight out of their beds, never to be seen or heard from again until… Now here’s where it gets interesting. I decided to have a woman by the name of Margo Hartman, an international superstar no less, stumble into this small Ohio town quite by accident, and…she happens to bear an uncommon resemblance to an Amish woman who lives in this town. To add an addition sense of intrigue, someone immediately begins trying their very best to kill poor Margo.

By the time I was done vacuuming, the storyline for “Finding Margo” was firmly cemented in my mind, which translates into Jen had no choice other than to write the story. However, before my agent at that time found a home for the manuscript, I signed another contract for more gilded age books, which meant I did not have the time to commit to what was certainly going to have to be a three-book series since, well, there were three Amish children who’d gone missing.

Fast forward around five years and I found myself a little ahead of schedule at exactly the right time. There was a new publishing house in town, my current agent remembered me talking about this quirky book I’d written long ago, and as luck would have it, I found the flash drive that’s been home to “Finding Margo” for all these years.

Since my writing style has certainly changed since I first wrote Margo’s story, I ended up rewriting the entire book, and I must say that I’m still just as intrigued with the storyline as I was when it popped to mind while vacuuming what seems like ages ago. I’m just tickled to death that Margo Hartman has finally found her way out of a flash drive and onto the pages of a book. I’m hoping readers will enjoy her as much as I enjoyed writing her.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me today, and for supporting my books over the years. I cannot properly express how important all my readers have become to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for every one of you. You’ve brightened up my life and without you, well, I wouldn’t have anyone to share the stories that always seem to rumble around my mind.

God bless!

~ Jen ~

Blog Stops

November 17: Book by Book
November 17: cherylbbookblog
November 18: A Reader’s Brain
November 18: I Hope You Dance
November 18: Blogging with Carol
November 19: ASC Book Reviews
November 19: Bibliophile Reviews
November 20: Lighthouse Academy
November 20: Karen Sue Hadley
November 20: Back Porch Reads
November 21: Genesis 5020
November 21: 100 Pages per Hour
November 22: Pause for Tales
November 22: Quiet Quilter
November 22: Bigreadersite
November 23: Just Commonly
November 23: A Greater Yes
November 23: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 24: Smiling Book Reviews
November 24: Ashley’s Bookshelf
November 25: inklings and notions
November 26: Daysong Reflections
November 26: The Scribbler
November 28: The Power of Words
November 29: Faithfully Bookish
November 29: Christian Bookaholic


To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of her book! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine entries on the giveaway!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mystery Monday: Todd Downing

Mystery Monday: Todd Downing

Always on the lookout for mystery writers from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, I have stumbled on yet another relatively unknown author. Part Choctow Native American, George Todd Downing was born in Atoka, Oklahoma in 1902. Able to speak five languages, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oklahoma before securing a position there as a Spanish professor. Working as a tour guide in Mexico during the summers of the 1920s and 1930s, Downing then wrote book reviews for the Daily Oklahoman from 1930 to 1937.
His ten mystery novels were published between 1933 and 1941. Written after a local act of violence threatened to sever diplomatic ties between the US and Mexico, the first of his eight books that were set in Mexico, Murder on Tour, sold well enough for him to quit his teaching job. As with many authors, it was his second book that brought him greater acclaim.  
Published by Doubleday’s Crime Club, The Cat Screams received high praise from them: “Only in exceptional instances is the first book of a new writer on the Crime Club list made a Crime Club Book of the Month. Here is the exception. The author, as a creator of atmosphere, suspense, and horror, is reminiscent of Mignon G. Eberhart. His plot, though exotic, is plausible and logical, and stylistically he is far superior to the average mystery writer.” High praise indeed.

The Cat Screams was published in England, and also translated in Italian. In 1942 it was adapted into a Broadway play, but closed after only seven shows. Downing did well with his mystery fiction, but published his last book at the age of 39. He moved back to the family home in Atoka and taught French and Spanish at Atoka High School. Never marrying, he died in 1974.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Traveling Tuesday: Nottingham

Traveling Tuesday: Nottingham

What comes to mind when you hear the town of Nottingham? Do you think of Robin Hood and his merry men? Perhaps the Sheriff? My latest novella, Love Found in Sherwood Forest, came about as the result of a request by one of the mid-sized Christian publishers. A broadcast went out for submissions. Parameters for the stories included word count and the requirement to use word trios in conjunction with a certain location.

Enamored with the legend of Robin Hood ever since I saw the 1938 movie featuring Errol Flynn with my dad on late night television, I selected the triplet that included Nottingham. My story didn't get chosen by that publisher, but was picked up recently by a small publisher in Texas. The publisher subsequently went out of business, but that's a whole other post!

Nottingham is proud of its association with Robin Hood, but did you also know the city has close ties
to the lace making, bicycle, and tobacco industries? I was surprised to discover that Nottingham was considered a borough until granted its city charter in 1897 under Queen Victoria's reign. It does have its very own castle that was constructed in 1068. When Richard the Lionhearted returned from the crusades, the castle was occupied by Prince John's supporters who included the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Located in the lower valley of the River Trent, Nottingham's northern border is Sherwood Forest (yes, THE Sherwood Forest). The weather is fairly temperate averaging mid-40 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter and mid-60s (F) during the summer. The architecture is varied and beautiful. The Lace Market has streets lined with red brick factories and iron railings, and throughout the city there are pubs built from timber. Cultural venues include Albert Hall where the Rolling Stones performed in 1964, and the Royal Concert Hall. Nottingham is home to the oldest football (soccer for you Americans) club in the world, Notts County, founded in 1862.

I was fascinated to discover there are hundreds of man-made caves below the city streets. Nottingham stands on sandstone, which is apparently perfect for cave making. According to "there are all kinds of imaginative uses for their manmade excavations - from cave dwellings to underground bowling alleys and jail cells." The largest cave in the Creswell Crags is named Robin Hood Cave, of course!

Who knows, perhaps he hid there while on the run from the Sheriff.