Thursday, April 27, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Keely Brooke Keith

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Keely Brooke Keith

Linda:  The second book in your Uncharted Beginnings Series has recently been released. Did you set out to write a series or did it just sort of happen?  

Author Keely Brooke Keith
Keely:  I set out to write a series. Actually, the Uncharted Beginnings series, which includes Aboard Providence and Above Rubies, is a prequel series to the Uncharted books. (The Land Uncharted). So all of my books thus far connect.

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

Keely:  I’ve always had an explorer’s heart. As a child, I papered my bedroom walls with maps out of National Geographic Magazine. I often stared at the wide blue swaths of ocean on the maps and wondered if land existed that no one knew about. While researching my family history as an adult, I became fascinated by the group migrations to the American West. I wondered what would happen if instead of going west, a group of families left the United States on a ship, got lost at sea, and ended up on that hidden land. Once I told that story in Aboard Providence, I decided to tell more stories about the new settlement in Above Rubies.

LM: The series is written in the mid-1800s. What draws you to that time period?

Keely:  It’s easy in our modern era to blame life’s difficulty on technology-driven complications. I wanted to pick a time in the recent past without computers and cars and electricity to show life was still complex, but in a different way.

LM: Lots of research goes into each story to ensure historical accuracy. What is your method for researching a story, and how much time goes into that before you begin to write?

Keely:  The research time is different for every story. I like to have a good sense of what life and work would have been like for my characters before I begin, but I have to stop researching and start writing at some point. Since I love history it can be hard to pull myself away to write.

LM: Have you ever experienced writer’s block, and if so, what did you do to push through it? 

Keely: I get “blocks” in everything I do--days when I don’t feel like working because my mind is tired or I’m fearful. Proper rest, exercise, socializing, and eating healthy go a long way in helping a person feel energized no matter their profession. I don’t like to call it writer’s block because it’s often the same feeling everyone experiences when they don’t want to work. Doctors can’t say they have “doctor’s block” and walk out of the operating room. If the block isn’t fear or laziness or exhaustion, it is usually boredom. We get bored with our own thoughts and ideas after a while. That’s when we need to observe and absorb. There is a big, crazy, wonderful, terrifying world waiting for writers to look away from their screens.

LM: What is your next project?

Keely: I'm currently working on what will be Book 5 in the Uncharted series. Since it the story still morphing as I explore all the angles, I can't give a description just yet ;)

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Keely: My website is

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mystery Monday: Murder, My Sweet

Mystery Monday: Murder, My Sweet

Farewell, My Lovely
First Edition
Hollywood has been turning books into movies since its inception, and the 1930s and 1940s were no exception. During these two decades, film makers took several of the crime novels written by such greats as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and produced highly successful pictures. Murder, My Sweet was a 1944 adaptation of Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely. The reason for the title change? Studio executives were concerned the public would think the movie was a musical.

Chandler, who was born in Chicago, but raised in England after the divorce of his parents, did not publish his first novel until he was 50 years old. His "day job" was as an accountant, and he eventually rose to the position of Vice President at Dabney Oil. He lost his job during the Depression and decided to go into writing full time. There was a large market for short stories and serial pieces, and Chandler found his niche in the "hard-boiled" detective style popularized by Hammett and Earle Stanley Gardner.

Author Raymond Chandler
Moving to California, he worked on several screenplays including Double Indemnity and Strangers on a Train. By the mid 1940s his books were selling so well, he could pick and choose his projects. Considered to be one of Chandler's masterpieces by most critics and movie goers, Farewell, My Lovely continues to be in print. It was remade into a movie under the original book title in 1975 with Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe, There were also several radio adaptations.

For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, the story begins with Detective Marlowe involved in a missing persons case. While at a bar, he happens to see an ex-con looking for his girlfriends who was supposed to have waited for him during his jail term. Frustrated at the lack of answers he gets about the woman's whereabouts, the felon kills the nightclub owner. Because the victim is a black man, there is little interest from the police in finding his murderer. Marlowe decides to hunt down the girlfriend in an effort to find the killer.

Movie Poster
Murder My Sweet
Typical of Chandler novels, there are twists and turns, police corruption, secret identities, and blackmail. Set in the fictional location of Bay City, most scholars agree that it is a stand-in for Santa Monica, well-known for its government corruption during the Depression. The story itself is a compilation of ideas and plot lines from three of Chandler's short stories. A classic noir book, Farewell, My Lovely is a highly entertaining read. Check your public library. You'll probably find it on the shelves.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Tamera Lynn Kraft

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Tamera Lynn Kraft

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You’ve got a brand new novel out called Alice’s Notions about a WWII widow. That is my favorite time period. Where did you find your inspiration for this story?
Tamera Lynn Kraft

Tamera: I’ve always been fascinated by the 1940s. I love the culture of that era: the classic movies, big band music, and fashion. I also love the character of the people then, an entire generation who knew what it was to sacrifice because of the Great Depression and did whatever it took to defeat the Third Reich. It became a generation of heroes. I also wanted to do a story set in rural West Virginia where my mother was born and raised during the 1940s and 1950s. When an author friend of mine suggested co-writing a story involving quilting, I had an idea about how to put these elements together. When my friend dropped out of the project, I finished it. The project became my new novel, Alice’s Notions.

LM: The age old question for writers – are you a planner or a “panster,” and what is your favorite part of the writing process?

Tamera: I’m neither a full on planner or panster. I plan out my characters, setting, research, and a few major plot points before I start writing, I use James Scott Bell’s signpost plotting in the planning stages, but I don’t really know what’s going to happen until I write it, and many times those planned signposts change by the middle of the novel. That being said, I do plot some novels more than others. Alice’s Notions was not one of those novels. I love history, so one of my favorite parts of the writing process is the intense historical research I do. I always learn interesting things that I include in my stories.

LM: Your historical novels don’t center around one particular era. When you write, how do you go about choosing which time period to use, and do you have a favorite?

Tamera: I don’t write in a particular era, but so far, all my stories center around the history of the United States, before and after it became a nation. I find the history of my country so fascinating and adventurous. I don’t really choose a time period. It chooses me. My stories come out of my reading about history. I start wondering what it was like for the people living through that time period. Usually my favorite time period is whatever I’m writing about at the time. I do have a special fondness for the Revolutionary War, the Old West in the late 1800s, and the World War II era.

LM: How did you get started as a writer, and how did you decide to seek publication?

Tamera: I never remember not writing. I always loved to read and to write stories I made up. I wrote my first novel when I was ten years old. I still have it. It was horrible, really cringe worthy. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. Then life happened. I married and had children at a young age, then I was called to be a children’s pastor and didn’t have time to write fiction. I did still write children’s ministry materials and curriculum. Some of them were published. Ten years ago, I resigned from my church as children’s pastor and started a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where I go to other churches and do kid’s revivals and crusades and children’s ministry consultations. When I did that, I had time for writing again. The stories started flowing again. There has been a learning curve to get to the place where my writing was good enough for publication, but I’ve always planned to seek publication.

LM: If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Tamera: That’s a hard one. My husband and I love to travel and see new sights. One of my favorite vacations was an Alaskan cruise. There are still some places I look forward to seeing. I want to see all 50 states before I travel overseas. On my list is to go to Yellowstone National Park (North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho), drive down the coast of California and Oregon, go to Bryce Canyon in Utah, Hawaii, and Maine. That will take care of all 50 states. After that, I want to visit Israel and take a European cruise.

LM: What is your next project?

Tamera: I am currently writing a series called Jamestown Brides about women who sailed to Jamestown colony and faced many hardships settling the new land. These women were as much adventurers and founders of America as the men they married.

LM: Sounds interesting! Where can folks find you on the web?

Word Sharpeners Blog:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: The Music of WWII

Wartime Wednesday: The Music of WWII

Tommy Dorsey
I recently attended a classical music concert, and the final piece was a Robert Schumann composition. The quartet’s pianist gave a brief bio of Schumann and said that most scholars agree he is considered the quintessential representative of the Romantic era (1780 to 1910). That got me to thinking about the music that defined the WWII era, my favorite time period to research and write about.

There were many styles of music being played during the decade, but one that seems to define the era to me is big band, those seventeen piece collections of musicians led by Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. Who of us can’t name at least one tune performed by these men and their bands?

As with all eras, music was used to respond to the events of the day. In the late 1930s when it was evident conflict was building, and war was the most certain result, Americans were split over our responsibilities. It seemed that most US Citizens were isolationists – “it’s not our war, and doesn’t concern us.” By 1939, composers apparently agreed. Two of that year’s most popular songs were “Let Them Keep it Over There” and “Rockabye my Baby, There Ain’t Gonna Be No War.”

Artie Shaw
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans had no choice, nor did they want one. We went to war, and within days of the incident “Remember Pearl Harbor,” “Goodbye Mama I’m off to Yokohama,” and “We Did it Before and We Can Do it Again” were on the airwaves. Days after word was received about success on the battle fields, composers cranked out songs to celebrate such as “Hats off to MacArthur,” “Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima,” and “D-Day.”

There was a groundswell of patriotism among the American people, and musicians wrote songs to capture the emotion. Everyone remembers Kate Smith’s rendition of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” but there was also “There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere,” “The House I Live In,” “American Patrol,” and “This is Worth Fighting For.”

Kate Smith
Musical numbers also talked about the woes and worries of the Armed Forces with “Somebody Else is Taking My Place,” “Everybody Knew But Me,” and the well-known “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.” Women’s loneliness back home was dealt with in songs such as “No Love, No Nuthin,” “They’re Either Too Young or Too Old,” “He Loved me Till the All-Clear Came,” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”

The war finally ended, and composers had something to say about that too. “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To,” “My Guy’s Come Back,” and “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” are just three of the most popular numbers.

Music speaks of and to people’s hearts. What is your favorite WWII song?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Blog Tour: Just the Way You Are

Blog Tour: Just the Way You Are


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Just the Way You Are

Author: Pepper Basham  

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant heart a very different type of discovery.
Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grace salvage their unexpected romance?

My Thoughts

Eisely Barrett is a warm, engaging, and stalwart single mom who finds herself in England doing research for her dying uncle. Actor Wes Harrison is not convinced Eisley is as innocent and unassuming as she appears, and he is sure she is in England to take advantage of his family. Author Pepper Basham does a great job of capturing the essence of Appalachian-based Eisley and the well-to-do Englishman Wes, without creating caricatures. All of the characters were well-developed and relatable. Humor was used effectively to create a mood, make a point, or give insight. The story was more romance than mystery, but there were plenty of clues to follow as Eisley researched her ancestors. Themes of God’s love, forgiveness, and second chances were woven throughout the story without being preachy.
I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Publicity, and a positive review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram

Guest post from Pepper Basham

Thank you so much for featuring my newest novel, Just the Way You Are, on CelebrateLit. I am THRILLED to be a part of this and to share a story that is very dear to my heart.  

Just the Way You Are is my first ‘true’ Britallachian romantic comedy. Even though I’ve written comedy in some of my other novels and included elements of both Appalachia and Britain, this one embodies the tag #britallachian to the core. For those of you who’ve read some of my previous books, you know I’m a big fan of my native Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian culture. You may also know that I’m a proud Anglophile.

Those two loves met in Just the Way You Are – and I tossed lots of other things I love best into the mix. What are those ingredients, you might ask?

Well, let me just tell ya! Just the Way You Are is a blend of Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian culture, big (hilarious) family dynamics, matchmaking, Britain, a swoony English hero, a quirky, magnanimous heroine, a bunch of adorable kids, Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones references, lots of humor, a historical mystery, a devious villainess, stately manor houses, secret rooms, love letters, and matchmaking all rolled into one…oh, and did I mention brain-numbing romance?

(Did anyone else feel the need to add “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles, true love….” From the Princess Bride?) I don’t think I included torture, giants, or monsters in Just the Way You Are…but I may have the other elements in this novel.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating about the brain-numbing, but I do have a tendency to err on the side of overly dramatic.

Within the pages of Just the Way You Are, you’ll meet people from my own family, people from my imagination, and some people who stepped into the story without one ounce of my planning to ever meet them. This story came out of my desire to write something I love reading – spicy romance, clean humor, culture clashes, the big love of family, and redemption.

How did my heroine Eisley Barrett evolve? Out of thin air. I was washing dishes one afternoon and staring out the window into our small backyard with the Blue Ridge Mountains painting a purplish-blue frame on the horizon when I closed my eyes. Into my imagination came this ginger-headed woman walking through Heathrow International Airport pulling a hot pink bag behind her…and then, she tripped and fell. That was it. That’s how I was introduced to my insecure, hilarious, romance-loving, single-mom heroine.

And the dashing hero? Okay, this may sound ridiculous, but I was watching an interview about Richard Armitage (Thoron Oakenshield, Guy of Gisborne, etc) regarding his lovely costume drama North and South where he plays a very dashing British hero. Anyway, he was SUCH a gentleman to watch during the interview. So polite. Kind. Funny, in a sweet way, and then, out of the blue, he said the word ‘gosh’. I know, that may not be a big deal to anyone but me, but after watching celebrity interviews where every other word needed a censor, the very fact that this elegant man used the word ‘gosh’, sent my writing brain into motion. My first internal question? What if a movie star with a tender heart had been burned by the pretension and expectation of celebrity status? What kind of woman could touch a heart who’d lost his faith in love’s authenticity?

Enter my red-head single-mom toting her pink bag through Heathrow and you have the very beginning of Just the Way You Are – a story of forgiveness, second chances…and a little bit of movie magic.

Blog Stops

April 6: cherylbbookblog
April 8: Bookworm Mama
April 9: Quiet Quilter
April 11: Robin’s Nest
April 14: A Greater Yes
April 15: Just Commonly
April 16: Book by Book
April 17: Splashes of Joy
April 18: Karen Sue Hadley
April 19: Henry Happens
April 19: Baker Kella


[Insert Giveaway Picture Here]

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a Grand Prize consisting of: A ‘chest’ – in JTWYA historical letters are discovered in a chest that relates to the historical storyline, so all of these lovely goodies are going to be safely inside this chest.
Chocolate – several references take place in JTWYA that compare the hero to chocolate ;-)
A plaque about family – because that’s a main point of importance in JTWYA
A Spider-man zipper pull – Pete, the heroine’s son, is a major Spider-man fan.
English Breakfast Tea – The hero is English…swoony English
A dishcloth – again, something that relates to a scene in the book regarding the hero and dishes (twice)
Stirring spoon and measuring cups – food and cooking are a big part of Appalachian culture and fellowship, something celebrated in JTWYA
A notebook – Eisley (the heroine) is taking notes about a historical family mystery
A lovely container full of cloth flowers (for fun, and beauty) – the container says – Love and you will be loved. Loving others has an amazing way to find its way back to us (as is what happens in JTWYA)
A little plaque that reads “You are Loved” – a theme of this story
A beautiful lace doily from England (the English part of the story)
Some “Pixie Dust” a fun visualization of the ‘magic’ of romance in this story
and A copy of Just the Way You Are!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blog Tour: Surrendered

Blog Tour: Surrendered


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

 Book: Surrendered  
Author: Elaine Manders  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance  
Release Date: December 28, 2016  

The fight never ends until someone surrenders.

Having vanquished his political enemies, Rhyan Cason is anxious to get home to his beloved Carianne. Then he receives word an anthrax outbreak threatens his ranch. Even as he ponders how he can afford to take a wife, dark secrets from the distant past shake his beliefs to the core and convince him he’ll never be able to find forgiveness or make Carianne happy.

Carianne Barlow is stunned when Rhyan breaks their secret engagement. She leaves Sollano, the beautiful ranch house she loves almost as much as its owner, and returns home to Westerfield. While waiting for her shattered heart to heal, she shifts her attention to building the library she’s promised the town.

Even though Colt Holliman offers her a new courtship, circumstances keep drawing her back to Sollano and Rhyan. Torn between her affection for Colt and her love for Rhyan, Carianne realizes almost too late Rhyan’s troubles lie deeper than saving the ranch. He fights an evil that threatens more than his love for her—one only God can defeat.

My Thoughts

Rhyan Cason is ready to marry the love of his life when accusations begin to fly about his diseased cattle and a plot to destroy other ranchers. In an era when being in society’s good graces is everything, Carianne Barlow survives speculation and innuendo to salvage her reputation. I haven’t read a lot of books set in the Old West and enjoyed learning about the culture, “technology,” and geography. Women had limited choices during this time period, and I found it interesting to see how Carianne worked out her difficulties under these constraints. Rhyan was a complex character, and despite being a “man’s man-” cowboy, rancher, and entrepreneur, he was caring without being sissyish. The plotline about the anthrax outbreak among Rhyan’s cattle was fascinating and obviously well-researched. This is book two of the Intrigue Under the Western Skies series, but was easily read as a stand-alone novel.
I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Publicity, and a positive review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

About the Author

Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters who aren’t afraid to show their love for God and each other. She lives in Central Georgia with a happy bichon-poodle mix. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her friends, daughter, and grandchildren.

Guest Post from Elaine Manders

I was born with the gift of story. The make-believe of childhood never left me, but it wasn’t until my daughter left for college, and I was left with the empty nest, that I decided maybe it was time to start writing the stories crowding my mind. I joined a local writers’ group, took a fiction writing course, developed the craft, went to conventions, and started pitching to editors.

Since I wrote romance, I found the publishing industry pushing me to a place I didn’t want to go. The secular publishers wanted steamier writing, and I complied as much as I could. Then when I was offered a chance for publication, I couldn’t allow my name to go on the book. The Christian publishers had a very narrow marketing concept. Again, I tried to comply until I felt the joy of story being squeezed out of me. I took a twelve year hiatus from writing.

Then in 2012, I was sitting in church listening to the familiar parable of the talents. When my pastor asked the question, “Are you hiding your talent?” I immediately visualized that closet filled with my unpublished manuscripts. I rededicated myself to putting my talent to use, and I asked God to send me a new story, if this was what he wanted me to do.

Later that week, I was on the golf course when I laid down on a little hill waiting for my husband to chase a ball in the woods and stared into the deepest, bluest sky I’ve ever seen. The sun was high in the sky, but the shade of blue was so dark I could actually see, not only the moon, but some of the stars. Looking into that sky, I experienced a strange sensation, as if I’d lost contact with the earth and was moving into infinity. I wondered, as I had many times before, how an atheist could look into the heavens and not believe in the Creator. This led me to an investigation of scientific atheism, Darwinism, and the entire series, Intrigue under Western Skies, was born. My protagonist is a Darwinist of the 1880s. Book 1, Pursued, is his spiritual journey to belief in Christianity, and Book 2, Surrendered, takes him to acceptance. The heroine, of course, helps him on this journey, while dodging all the dangers the old west has to offer. Incidentally, Pursued will be free on Amazon Apr 18-19.

Blog Stops

April 11: Karen Sue Hadley
April 14: Bigreadersite
April 17: cherylbbookblog
April 17: Baker Kella
April 18: I Hope You Dance
April 21: Pause for Tales


To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Baggage Claim

Blog Tour: Baggage Claim


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book: Baggage Claim  

Author: Cathe Swanson  

Genre: Christian Suspense/Romance  

Release Date: February 14, 2017  

There had to be at least one healthy branch on his family tree…

Who can he trust?

Ben Taylor, widower and father of four lively children, enjoys his easy, uncomplicated life. He likes his work and has a competent nanny to manage his household. Everything is good until he decides to seek out his biological parents and discovers a family tree with tangled roots and broken branches.

His comfortable life crumbles when he gets caught up in a criminal network of fraud and conspiracy at his new job. When Ben is forced into a dangerous alliance, he scrambles to find a safe situation and protection for his children before setting out to clear his name—all without getting himself killed in the process.

A nanny with a past…

Becoming a nanny was the perfect solution when Teresa Cooper needed a place to hide ten years ago, but now that she’s no longer in danger, she’s ready to move on and make a new life for herself. When Ben asks her to take the children to an unknown relative in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she finds herself in hiding again, this time with four children in tow.

As the children explore the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula, Teresa begins to wonder about God’s plan for her future. Who is this stranger Ben trusts with his children? Why here? Can a city-bred nanny find joy in this wild corner of God’s creation?

My Thoughts

Baggage Claim is not your usual “adoptee seeking biological parents” story. It’s the first I’ve read where the adopted individual is male instead of female, and that put an interesting spin on the novel for me. The difficulties that protagonist, Ben Taylor, experiences at work create tension and suspense, and the challenge of his being a widowed, single parent adds dimension to his character. Because the book opens with Teresa Cooper, the woman who ends up being nanny to Ben’s kids, I thought she would be more of a lead character, and I would like to have seen her developed more. Baggage Claim is well-written with realistic dialogue, and I enjoyed it. Highly recommended, and I look forward to reading other books by this author.
I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Publicity, and a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years. They enjoy spending time with their family and being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, birdwatching and fishing, but summer is short in Wisconsin, so it’s important to have indoor hobbies, too. Cathe has been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years, and she enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper. She enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

Guest Post from Cathe Swanson

When I was in high school, I thought I might like to become an occupational therapist. Instead, I got married, had babies, raised the children and launched them into the world. I took a few years to regroup, and then I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Shortly after that, my dad had a stroke, and when he came home from the hospital, I was fascinated by the work of the visiting therapists. I did some research and learned that physical and occupational therapy assistants make pretty good money and are able to do the best part of the job – the therapy. Therapists are often bogged down in paperwork and periodic assessments. The assistant has all the fun, and it’s just a 5-semester program.

So I trotted on down to the local community college and asked what I had to do to get signed up. The counsellor talked for a while about prerequisites, petitions, waiting lists, internships, and other such things. Eventually I realized she was trying to tell me that I was too old to embark on this career. Too taken-aback to be offended, I went home and wrote a book about it instead. After all, I’d invested a lot of time in research.

I’d been writing stories for years, and already had the bones of Baggage Claim. Once I gave my young hero a job as a physical therapy assistant, the story took on life. My mother’s interest in genealogy had sparked a question: What if a nice, normal person wanted to track down their biological family and it blew up in their face? So that’s where I sent my hero, and as one of my reviewers said, “It was not a Hallmark moment.”

I’m very happy as an author and have no real interest in becoming an occupational therapist. Indeed, that rejection was a turning point for me. I could have pushed forward and got that degree, but instead I went home and wrote. I have no regrets.

Blog Stops

March 29: A Greater Yes
March 30: Genesis 5020
April 1: Quiet Quilter
April 2: autism mom
April 7: Carpe Diem
April 9: Bigreadersite


To celebrate her tour, Cathe is giving away Grand prize themed gift box that will include: A decorative suitcase box Earl Grey Tea A handmade mug rug A pretty mug 14 handmade all-occasion cards And a paperback copy of Baggage Claim!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Blog Tour: Finding Hope in Savannah

Blog Tour: Finding Hope in Savannah

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Finding Hope in Savannah Author: Melissa Wardwell Genre: Christian Suspense/Romance Release Date: September 15, 2016 Elizabeth “Liz” Thompson liked her quiet, predictable life with her son. When she witnesses something horrifying and dangerous, they are forced into hiding. She seeks refuge in the small community of Isle of Hope, Georgia only to find that her life and her heart are still hanging in the balance. Officer Jake Andrews, dedicated his life to protect and serve the people of Savannah. In the back of his mind always wondering “what if?”. The arrival of a young woman from his past forces him to face a long-buried secret, that will change how he sees his future. As danger comes to Georgia, Liz & Jake must learn to trust God and each other, to see their way out of the situation.

My Thoughts

Liz Thompson’s life is turned upside down in the blink of an eye, and she finds herself on the run from the Irish mob. When her journey ends on the Isle of Hope, she finds more than sanctuary. Told in multiple points of view, Finding Hope in Savannah is an enjoyable story with equal parts romance and suspense. The characters are likeable, and I found myself rooting for Liz as the book unfolded. The book is heavy on description, but the author effectively used it to evoke the Savannah area and its surroundings. A light easy read.
I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Publicity, and a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Melissa resides in a small mid-Michigan farm community with her husband and three children, all of whom they home school. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, taking photos, and motorcycle rides with her husband. Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life

Guest Post from Melissa Wardwell

Finding myself though “Finding Hope in Savannah” Writing this book opened my eyes to quite a few things about myself. It opened a door to a need to discover new places and try new things. To step outside of my shell and not be afraid to discover what I am capable of as a wife, mother, and a Christian Woman. In one scene, I have “Liz” talking about how she wishes she could be brave enough to face things without being so fearful of the outcome. I was reminded that when we are moving in Christ’s will for our lives, there is nothing to fear. When I came up with the idea for “Finding Hope in Savannah” I wanted a location that was unlike any place I have ever been. All my other books take place in my area. So, I set out to find images of some place warm and southern. I came across images of this little community on the outskirts of Savannah Georgia called Isle of Hope. I loved the looks of this little haven so much, I made it the location of this book. Writing the descriptions on the location was a bit of a stretch of my imagination. I hadn’t seen it, smelled it, or touched it in any way. The writing of this book just so happened to be the same year as when our family would be driving to Florida for a family vacation. After expressing my frustration in not getting the feel of the place right, my darling husband suggested leaving a bit earlier and spending some time in Savannah on the way down. I am so glad we did and I discovered for myself why it is considered the most beautiful city in the United States. This book isn’t just a love story or a story about a woman in hiding, but about a single mother of a tween boy who is trying her best to find her way in this world. Having two teen boys of my own I know how fun, as well as gross, boys can be but to get the right mind set for “Liz” I had to do some homework. It took watching and talking to my friends who are single mothers, hear their concerns about life and managing their time. I admire those who have to play both roles every day and still have a smile on their faces. With my husband’s job, I am on my own with the kids part of the time, but it is only part time. I couldn’t imagine raising my three all by myself. My hats off to all the single mommies of the world.

Blog Stops

April 4: His Grace is Sufficient

April 4: Because I said so – and other adventures in parenting

April 5: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

April 5: Christian Bookaholic

April 6: Daysong Reflections

April 6: A Bakers Perspective

April 7: History Mystery & Faith


April 8: Reading Is My SuperPower

April 8: Karen Sue Hadley

April 9: Moments Dipped in Ink

April 9: 100 Pages per Hour

April 10: Captive Dreams Window

April 11: A Greater Yes

April 11: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

April 12: Bigreadersite

April 13: Blogging With Carol

April 14: Carpe Diem

April 15: my site/autism mom

April 16: Quiet Quilter

April 17: Through the Open Window


To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away one print copy of “Finding Hope in Savannah” as well as a $10 Amazon gift card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Author Donna Schlacter

Talkshow Thursday: Author Donna Schlacter

I'm so pleased to welcome author Donna Schlacter back for a visit. She's got a fabulous new story out, so grab your favorite beverage, draw up a chair, and listen in!

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You have a new novella out with Barbour Publishing about the Pony Express. Where did you find your inspiration for this story?

Donna: I knew Mary Davis from the ACFW Colorado group, and met her at an ACFW conference. I asked her what she was working on, and she said she was putting together a proposal for a novella collection about the Pony Express. I said, “I’d love to be part of a group like that”, and she said, “We have all our authors, but if anything changes, I’ll let you know.” A month later she emailed to say one of the authors had dropped out, and was I still interested? I sure was. I read a lot about the Pony Express, visited sites in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas, and fell in love with the folklore and romance of the Pony Express.

LM: You have published lots of books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Donna: I love writing The End J Seriously, I love coming up with the ideas and then putting those down on paper, seeing the what ifs get answered by filling in the blanks.

LM: Your historical novels don’t center around one particular era. When you write, how do you go about choosing which time period to use, and do you have a favorite?

Donna: Many times, I see or hear something interesting, and I ask what if? I tend to stick to the years before the 1900’s, but I’m game to learn new stuff, I love to travel for research, and have no qualms about visiting a location to get the feel of it.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Donna: I’m always ready to write. But when I sit down to write, I pray: Lord, thank You for letting me be the first one to see and hear this story. Thank You for trusting me to transcribe this story for You. Keep my fingers nimble and my ears focused on You. Amen.

LM: If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Donna: Somewhere warm. Where I can sit, and read, and write, without internet (unless I want it), and without cell phones (unless it’s my agent calling).

LM: What is your next project?

Donna: I am currently under contract with Barbour Books for two more novellas. They’re written and just need a final edit. Then I’m going to write the next cozy mystery for my alter ego, Leeann Betts, to be published in June. 

LM: Where can folks find you?

Thanks for visiting!

READERS: Here's the link to Donna's book:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Blog Tour: 21 Days of Grace

Blog Tour: 21 Days of Grace


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book: 21 Days of Grace  

Author: Compiled by Kathy Ide
Genre: Devotional  

Release Date: March 24, 2015

Love fiction? Looking for a devotional? Check out 21 DAYS OF GRACE, book one in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series (published by BroadStreet Publishing Group). Fictional stories followed by brief life applications written by best-selling Christian novelists and debut authors, including Angela Hunt, Cindy Woodsmall, and Deborah Raney. Great for individual or group study.

My Thoughts

Twenty-one Days of Grace is a collection of short stories written by well-known and not so well-known authors. At the end of each piece are two to three paragraphs of Life Application on which readers can meditate. The authors’ biographies give information about where readers can learn more about them or find their work. The stories are varied and range from Amish to Historical to Contemporary to Allegory, and all share a central truth from the Bible. A few are told in first person and the rest in third person. The book is a small, colorful, and beautifully packaged hardback, making it a nice gift. I enjoyed each of the stories, although some more than others, and appreciated the insights presented at the end. This is a devotional that can be read numerous times.

I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Publicity. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

 Kathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. She’s a full-time freelance editor and writing mentor, working with Christian authors of all genres at all levels. She teaches at writers’ conferences across the country and is the director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She’s a co-owner of the Christian Editor Network LLC and founder of the four divisions that comprise the CEN: Christian Editor Connection, The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, PENCON, and The PEN Institute. To find out more about Kathy, visit

Guest Post from Kathy Ide

I’ve always loved Christian fiction, and I’ve seen the power of fiction to touch hearts and change lives, both firsthand and hearing about the experiences of others. But you know, in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter from a novel just doesn’t seem quite appropriate. So a devotional with short fiction stories seemed like a great solution. And you can take these purse-sized devotionals wherever you go, to read when you have a few minutes of down time. It’s a great way to get “inspiration on the go.” And they make fantastic gifts for friends and loved ones.

Blog Stops

March 24: ASC Book Reviews
March 24: autism mom
March 28: A Greater Yes
March 29: Southern Chelle
March 30: Pause for Tales
March 30: The Scribbler
March 31: Carpe Diem
April 1: Splashesofjoy
April 3: Lane Hill House
April 5: God is Love


To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away:

1st – 4th place winners: A set of all four devotionals in the series. 
5th & 6th place winners: An autographed copy of 21 Days of Grace with a novel written by one of the contributing authors!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!