Monday, June 28, 2021

Mystery Monday: The Indomitable Mrs. Bradley

Mystery Monday: The Indomitable Mrs. Bradley 

Despite publishing nearly eighty novels, crime fiction author Gladys Mitchell and her books have fallen into oblivion. Sixty-six of her books feature Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley, a medical doctor and psychoanalyst, and advisor to the British Home Office. Her career began in the 1929 book Speedy Death and ended in 1984 with The Crozier Pharaohs. 
Author Mitchell was born in Oxford in 1901, and she appears to have had an uneventful childhood. Upon graduation from college she became a history and English teacher. Over the course of her career, she worked at several schools and retired in 1961. She wrote one to two novels per year until her death. 
Part of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, amateur sleuth Mrs. Bradley appears a full year before Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, but seven years after Christie’s Tuppence Beresford, and is diametrically to the two. Whereas Miss Marple is elderly and sweet, and Tuppence is young and pretty, Mrs. Bradley is described in Speedy Death as: 

“dry without being shriveled, and bird-like without being pretty. She reminded Alastair Bing...of the
reconstruction of a pterodactyl he had once seen in a German museum. There was the same inhuman malignity in her expression as in that of the defunct bird, and, like it, she had a cynical smirk about her mouth even when her face was in repose...Strange to say, her voice belied her appearance, for, instead of the birdlike twitter one might have expected to hear issuing from those beaked lips, her utterance was slow, mellifluous, and slightly drawled; unctuous, rich, and reminiscent of dark, smooth treacle.”
Isn’t that a fantastic description? 
According to scholars, Mrs. Bradley’s views and those of her assistant, about the social and philosophical issues of the time reflect those of her creator, giving readers a self-portrait of Mitchell and a feel for the postwar era of the 1920s. 
Mrs. Bradley solves her investigations with a mixture of psychoanalysis, common sense, humor, and a heavy dose of sarcasm. The husband of her assistant, Laura, is conveniently a detective with Scotland Yard. 
Rather than dump Mrs. Bradley’s entire biography and skillset in one book, Mitchell sprinkles information about the character throughout the series. As readers partake of the novels, they find the indomitable sleuth to highly literate, and a better bridge player than Burns or Sir William, and adept at pool and snooker. She is a “brilliant darts player” and can throw a knife as well as being a “dead shot with an air gun. She was nonplussed when being attacked by a would-be murderer. Her outlandish outfits, often combinations of “bright velvet, sulphur and orange,” and “sulphur, tartan and odd shades of blue” indicate her indifference to what other people think. 
Unlike most authors who either stick to a timeline and age their character accordingly or never age their characters, Gladys Mitchell appeared to pay no attention to a timeline. A study of her books indicate that Mrs. Bradley was 130 years old by the end of the series! She was portrayed on television by Diana Rigg, and on radio by Margaret Yarde and Mary Wimbush. 
Have you read any of the Mrs. Bradley books? 

Murder at Madison Square Garden

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare. 
Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit? 
Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Purchase Link:

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Peggy Wirgau

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Peggy Wirgau

Linda: Welcome and thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your debut YA novel, The Stars in April. The book was inspired by the real story of Titanic survivor Ruth Becker. What led you to write the story, and why did you choose to write YA rather than adult fiction? 

Peggy: Thank you, Linda! Back in April of 2012, the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking, I was looking through a list of the survivors and discovered that Ruth Becker and her family had been on their way from India to Michigan, my home state. When I read that twelve-year-old Ruth was separated from her family in the lifeboats yet managed to share her blankets and help the strangers in her boat, I wanted to know more. How could a young girl do such things when she must have been terrified? It wasn’t long before I couldn’t wait to write her story. The Stars in April is written from Ruth’s point of view, so it naturally fit with middle grade/YA historical fiction, although it’s enjoyable for adults as well, especially those interested in the Titanic. It’s the first Titanic novel told from a young person’s perspective and based on a real passenger. 

LM: Research is an important part of writing, especially historic fiction. What sort of research did you do for The Stars in April? Was there any sort of “aha” tidbit you found that you knew needed to be included? 

Peggy: The research covered everything from train travel in India in 1912 to what stars were visible in the sky over the north Atlantic on the night of the sinking. The Beckers were missionaries serving in India when they left for America, so I needed to incorporate details from that culture, plus the current world events, food, fashions, and more. Then came the Titanic—the ship’s layout, room descriptions, passengers and crew members Ruth may have met, the menus, what took place during the sinking—it all had to be perfect. 

The best part of the research came from a personal friend of Ruth who shared stories with me that she
had told him. One involved an outdoor tea party in India that her mother had planned for other missionaries and a troupe of monkeys that showed up to eat the sandwiches! I knew I had to include that story. He told me others, better than any I could have invented myself. That kind of first-hand knowledge is priceless. 

LM: What is your writing process? (e.g., Do you come up with the plotline first? Characters? Do you outline the entire story before beginning or just sit down and start) 

Peggy: I began the novel with a rough plot outline, something like—here are all the true events that need to happen in the beginning, middle, and the end. From there, I added fictional and non-fictional characters and subplots, and I started moving things around or tossing them overboard 😊 I’m in the middle of a rough draft for another novel, and I’m using a very similar process. 

LM: You have written for publications such as Appleseeds, Insight, and Learning Through History. How is that different than writing full-length fiction? The same? 

Peggy: The articles for those publications involved a great deal of research, so I gained experience in digging for facts and organizing what was important that I later put to use with the novel. Of course, they didn’t have characters and motivations and all the development and emotion that goes into fiction. But they were excellent learning opportunities for me and helped to strengthen my writing skills. 

LM: Tell us about your journey to publication of The Stars in April. 

Peggy: After I wrote the first draft in 2012, I did quite a bit of editing and polishing, then began to pitch it at writers’ conferences. Nearly everyone found the premise interesting, and many asked me to submit the full manuscript. Then came the rejections, with very little feedback. I finally reached out to an editor who helped me make some big improvements. She eventually became my agent and submitted it to dozens of publishing houses. Then I did another big edit on my own, and it was accepted! It was a very long wait, but God brought it about in His timing. The story is so much better and richer now than when I first wrote it, and everyone at Iron Stream Media has been so enthusiastic and supportive. 

LM: What is your idea of the perfect vacation? 

Peggy: I can think of many locations, but anywhere near water for starters. It would have to include my family, some great sightseeing, long walks, time to read, really good food, and a fabulous AirB&B. That would be perfect! 

LM: What is your next project? 
Peggy: My Work In Progress is based on another true story, set in New York City during the American Revolution. It’s told through the eyes of the only female member of George Washington’s citizen spy ring. Again, the amount of research needed is astounding, but I want to have every detail as accurate as possible. My plan is to get back to work on it this summer and have it near submission-ready by the end of the year. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 


 Instagram: (@peggywirgau) 


About The Stars in April

The year is 1912. When doctors in India are unable to treat her baby brother’s illness, Ruth’s missionary parents decide there is one solution: move her mother and the children across the world—to Michigan. 
But India is the only home Ruth knows. In a matter of days, she must leave Papa and all she loves behind, abandon her dream of one day playing violin in the Calcutta Orchestra, and embark on a four-week journey to England, followed by the voyage to New York aboard the luxurious, ill-fated RMS Titanic. 
Ruth’s story is one of courage and self-sacrifice as she earns her sea legs and faces the unknown, culminating in a desperate, tragic night she will never forget.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Mystery Monday: Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe

Mystery Monday: Nero Wolfe 

Thanks to television many of the Golden Age fictional detectives have not fallen into obscurity. One of those detectives is Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe. For those of you unfamiliar with Wolfe, he is an armchair sleuth. Literally. He remains in his luxurious New York City brownstone to solve crimes. Intriguingly, over the course of the stories, ten different addresses are given on West 35th Street, most of which are in the 900s which would have been in the Hudson River. 
Created in 1934 in Fer-de-Lance, Wolfe appeared in thirty-three novels and forty-one short stories and novellas. He addresses himself to the suspects in Fourth of July Picnic
“I was born in Montenegro (on the Adriatic Sea and part of the Balkans) and spent my boyhood there. At the age of sixteen, I decided to move around and in fourteen years I became acquainted with most of Europe, a little of Africa, and much of Asia, in a variety of roles and activities. Coming to this country in nineteen-thirty, not penniless, I bought this house and entered into practice as a private detective. I am a naturalized American citizen.” 
According to a memo from Stout to his biographer, Wolfe is 5 ft 11 inches and weighed 272 pounds.
Archie Goodwin, narrator of the stories and Wolfe’s assistant often describes his boss as weighing a “seventh of a ton,” but by 1947 indicated “he weighs between 310 and 390, and he limits his physical movements to what he regards as the irreducible essentials.” Because of his unwillingness to leave his home, Archie does the legwork for the genius detective. 
Wolfe is a voracious reader, but his main hobby is tending orchids. He keeps a rigid personal schedule including four hours each day with his flowers. Clients are expected to accommodate themselves to the orchid schedule. In The League of Frightened Men, Archie notes, “Wolfe had once remarked to me that the orchids were his concubines: insipid, expensive, parasitic and temperamental.” The orchids and the orchid rooms are sometimes focal points of the stories. 

Food is the other delight in Wolfe’s life. He spends hours planning menus with Chef Fritz Brenner. Described as a gourmand and a gourmet, he has three generous meals a day, with shad roe being a particular favorite. Because of his love of haute cuisine, there are certain foods that never appear on the table, such as corned beef and rye bread or fried chicken, forcing Archie to head to one of New York’s restaurants to partake. The extent Wolfe takes his food seriously is indicated when Archie says in Gambit, “Once he burned up a cookbook because it said to remove the hide from a ham end before putting it in the pot with lima beans. Which he loves most, food or words, is a tossup.” 
Eccentricities include the refusal to wear anything that is even slightly soiled, an almost pathological dislike for the company of women, and an aversion to physical contact. 
Over the years, Wolfe has been brought to film, radio, and television in America, Germany, Italy, and Russia. He has been portrayed by Edward Arnold, Walter Connolly, Francis X. Bushman, Sydney Greenstreet, William Conrad, and Maury Chaykin. A pilot was shot for a TV series in 1959 starring Kurt Kaszner and Wolfe and William Shatner as Archie, but the project didn’t make it off the ground. 
Are you a Nero Wolfe fan? 


Murder at Madison Square Garden 

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare. 
Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit? 
Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Purchase Link:

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Release Day: A Bride for Keegan

Release Day: A Bride for Keegan

I'm thrilled to announce the release of A Bride for Keegan, part of the Proxy Bride series. Journey back to 1873 Iowa and experience life on the range. 

The past clashes with the present to jeopardize their future. 

Fiona Quigley’s parents came to America for a better life, but illness and the Civil War took them from her. Now, she’s barely scraping by as a seamstress to Boston’s elite. A chance for a new start arises in the form of being a mail-order bride, but to her dismay she must marry the man by proxy. Once they’re wed, 
there will be no turning back. 
After being jailed one too many times for protesting against the Unionists in Ireland, Keegan O’Rourke heads for America—land of the free. He takes advantage of the Homestead Act to create a farm in his new country, but he has no one to share his success, so he advertises for a mail-order bride. They wed by proxy, but after she arrives, he discovers his Irish lass hails from the northern reaches of the Emerald Isle – the 
very area he fled. 
History, intrigue, and romance will keep you turning pages in this addition to the exciting Proxy Bride series.

Available for purchase and Kindle Unlimited: Amazon

Friday, June 4, 2021

Fiction Friday: New Releases for June

June 2021 New Releases More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Historical Romance:

A Life Redeemed by Olivia Rae -- Upon Queen Elizabeth’s order, Audrey Hayes travels to the borderlands of Scotland to learn where the fierce Laird Armstrong’s loyalties lie. Is he aligned with his mother’s English roots in support of the queen, or does he hold with the beliefs of his father, who wishes to see Mary of Scots on the English throne? The fate of Audrey’s family rests on her success in finding the answer. After losing his lands in a wager and being betrayed by his kin, Gavin Armstrong entered a loveless marriage to obtain the funds to buy back his family home, Warring Tower. Now a widower, struggling against countless border wars, he is on the verge of losing his home and lands again. With few resources, he reluctantly makes another risky wager, one he cannot hope to win without trusting the secretive Audrey Hayes, a woman he suspects is an English spy. (Historical Romance from HopeKnight Press)

Faith in the Mountain Valley by Misty M. Beller -- After eleven years spent looking for the girl who stole his heart, Jean-Jacques Baptiste-better known as French to his friends-is tempted to give up. Until the day he spotted the flaxen-haired stranger traveling the wooded path with Blackfoot Indians. He never imagined he'd find his childhood friend masquerading as a man in this Rocky Mountain wilderness, hundreds of miles from the Canadian town where he last saw her. No matter her reasons, he can't let her go this time. From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

A Bride for Keegan by Linda Shenton Matchett -- Fiona Quigley’s parents came to America for a better life, but illness and the Civil War took them from her. Now, she’s barely scraping by as a seamstress to Boston’s elite. A chance for a new start arises in the form of being a mail-order bride, but to her dismay she must marry the man by proxy. Once they’re wed, there will be no turning back. After being jailed one too many times for protesting against the Unionists in Ireland, Keegan O’Rourke heads for America—land of the free. He takes advantage of the Homestead Act to create a farm in his new country, but he has no one to share his success, so he advertises for a mail-order bride. They wed by proxy, but after she arrives, he discovers his Irish lass hails from the northern reaches of the Emerald Isle – the very area he fled. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

No Journey Too Far by Carrie Turanksy -- In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth? After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart. (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah)

To Find Her Place by Susan Anne Mason -- In the midst of WWII, Jane Linder, a childless divorcée, puts all her energy into her career at the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. As acting directress, Jane hopes to be awarded the position permanently so she can continue making a difference in the lives of troubled children. Garrett Wilder has been hired to overhaul operations at the Children’s Aid Society. He hopes to impress the board members with his findings and earn the vacant director’s position. A war injury ended his dream of taking over his parents’ farm, but with the security of the director’s job, he’d be able to contribute financially and help save the family business. As Garrett works closely with Jane, he comes to admire her tenacity and her dedication to the children. Just as feelings begin to blossom between them, her ex-husband returns from overseas with an unexpected proposition that could fulfill Jane’s deepest desires. With the odds stacked against them, can Garrett and Jane navigate the obstacles to their relationship and find lasting love? (Historical Romance from Bethany House)

The Captain’s Quest by Lorri Dudley -- Pricilla Middleton only attended the Lemoore house party to keep her friend out of trouble. Now, her only chance to keep from becoming a gossip column headline is to sneak aboard her brother's ship and pretend she'd been visiting him instead of taking part in the debacle. Before she can speak to her brother, the ship sets sail, and the man in charge is not at all who she expects. Captain Tobias Prescott, son of an infamous war hero, has been assigned on a critical mission to deploy warships in St. Kitts for battle in New Orleans. Unfortunately, his orders require him to assume command of a friend's ship, and he must weigh anchor the instant the former captain is escorted down the gangplank. When they reach open waters, the last thing he expects is to find a woman hiding in the captain's cabin, yet his mission is too urgent to return her to England. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

On Sugar Hill by Ane Mulligan -- She traded Sugar Hill for Vaudeville. Now she’s back. The day Cora Fitzgerald turned sixteen, she fled Sugar Hill for the bright lights of Vaudeville, leaving behind her senator-father’s verbal abuse. But just as her career takes off, she’s summoned back home. And everything changes. The stock market crashes. The senator is dead. Her mother is delusional, and her mute Aunt Clara pens novels that have people talking. Then there’s Boone Robertson, who never knew she was alive back in high school, but now manages to be around whenever she needs help. Will the people of her past keep her from a brilliant future? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Along a Storied Trail by Ann H. Gabhart -- Kentucky packhorse librarian Tansy Calhoun doesn’t mind the rough trails and long hours as she serves her Appalachian mountain community during the Great Depression. Yet she longs to find love like the heroines in the books she loves. When a charming writer comes to town, she thinks she might have found it—or is the perfect man actually closer than she thinks? Perdita Sweet has called these mountains home for so long that she’s nearly as rocky as the soil around her small cabin. Long ago she thought she could love, but when the object of her affection up and married someone else, she stopped giving too much of herself away to others. As is so often the case, it’s easier to see what’s best for others than to see what’s best for oneself. Perdita knows who Tansy should choose, but why would anyone listen to the romantic advice of an old spinster? (Historical Romance from Revell)

More Than Honor by Carol Ashby -- Devotion to duty and dogged determination make Tribune Titianus the most feared investigator of the Urban Cohort. Honor drives him to hunt down anyone who breaks Roman law, but it becomes personal when Lenaeus, his old tutor, is murdered in his own classroom. Why kill a respected teacher of the noble sons of Rome, a man who has nothing worth stealing and no known enemies? Had he learned something too dangerous to let him live? Pompeia was only a girl when Titianus studied with Father before her family became Christians. She and her brother Kaeso can’t move their school from the house where their father was killed. But what if the one who killed Father comes to kill again? Kaeso’s friend Septimus insists they spend nights at his father’s well-guarded home. But danger lurks there as well. As Titianus hunts for the murderer, will he discover their secret faith and arrest them as enemies of the Empire? (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

The Dream Weaver’s Bride: Asenath’s Story by Janelle Hovde -- As the daughter of the high priest of On, Asenath has a solid vision of her future. Her education with the royal scribe is a luxury not usually afforded to women, and even though she is betrothed to the pharaoh’s half-brother, she has dreams of something more. But everything changes when the pharaoh has troubling nightmares that only a prisoner named Joseph can interpret. Suddenly, Asenath finds herself married to this foreigner, who demands that no god but his own be worshipped in his house. Despite her fears, Asenath is touched by Joseph’s kindness and humility, even as he steps into his newfound power. Can Asenath trust the God of Joseph and forsake her old deities? Can she learn to love this stranger from another land, a stranger with scars from a painful past? As a famine sweeps across Egypt and the surrounding lands, Asenath and Joseph find themselves face-to-face with the men who caused Joseph’s suffering. Can Asenath embrace the power of El Shaddai and help her husband forgive? (Historical from Guidepost Publications)

Contemporary Romance:

Book Title by Laurie Larsen -- he had the perfect life all on her own …Alyssa Stark works hard to make her life's dreams come true … all on her own. She built her reputation as New York City's top advertising executive, client by client. And when her ill-advised marriage didn't work out, she knew she had to make her dream of becoming a mother happen by untraditional means. Now, she and her eight-year-old daughter Caroline are living the dream life in the Big Apple. He'd lost everything that meant anything until he made a discovery …Grant Fontaine is the widowed president of his father-in-law’s electronics company. Since the tragic death of his pregnant wife a decade ago, he’s become a high achieving businessman, but a social hermit. Several years ago, his lonely life took on new meaning when he discovered that the donation he’d made to a reproductive clinic long ago had sired a child. Through the services of a discreet private eye unafraid to push legal limits, he identifies his “daughter,” Caroline, and her mother, Alyssa. Could it be time to reveal his secret? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Plot Twist by Bethany Turner -- February 4, 2003, is just another day for Olivia Ross—a greeting card writer whose passion project is a screenplay of her own. After she and a handsome, struggling actor have a near-magic encounter in a coffee shop, they make a spontaneous pact: in ten years, after they’ve found the success they’re just sure they’re going to achieve, they’ll return to the coffeehouse to partner up and make a film together. The only problem? Olivia neglected to get the stranger’s name. But she doesn’t forget the date. For the next ten years, every February 4, Olivia has an exceptional day, full of coincidences and ironies. As men come and go and return to her life, and as she continues to write her screenplay, she still wonders about the guy from the coffee shop—the nameless actor she’s almost certain was Hamish MacDougal, now a famous member of the Hollywood elite. But a lot can happen in ten years, and while waiting for the curtain to rise on her fate, the true story of Olivia’s life is being written—and if she’s not careful, she’ll completely miss the epic romance playing out right before her eyes. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Always a Wedding Planner by Davalynn Spencer, R.L. Ashely, LeeAnn Betts, Toni Shiloh -- Love Is Only Business for 4 Wedding Planners Discover how keeping secrets from each other threatens four women’s friendships, wedding business, and their own ability to find love in Loveland, Colorado. Business partners Felicity Anderson, the cake baker; Kiki Bell, the seamstress; Cassie Blackthorn, the coordinator; and Chef Saffron Delarosa are best of friends in a town that is a romantic wedding destination for many couples—who work together at Weddings by Design to make every bride’s special day perfect. Could each falling into their own romance be the key to working out their differences and learning to trust each other—and God—with their futures? (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Chance for the Newcomer by Lisa Carter -- She’s stirring things up…A big-city chef. A small-town single dad. And matchmakers with marriage in mind… Chef Kara Lockwood didn’t think changing a small-town diner’s menu would cause a boycott, but the locals sure do love their apple pie—especially fire chief Will MacKenzie. Kara’s not sure she and the single father can ever learn to live peacefully as neighbors. But even as they clash over pastries, local matchmakers and Will’s little boy are determined to bring their stubborn hearts together. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Matched Hearts by Cathe Swanson -- She’s looking for a "Plus One" for her parents' anniversary party. He’s looking for “Happily Ever After.” When a matchmaking agency pairs them up, is it a computer error or a match made in heaven?Eleanor Nielson always wanted to follow in her distinguished parents’ footsteps, becoming a teacher and living a life of selfless community service – until she tried it. Now, she’s run away to find herself and decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life, but she can’t skip her parents’ anniversary party, and she needs a date. Can a matchmaking agency find her a fake boyfriend who will impress her parents? Mechanical engineer David Reid has his life all planned out, and he’s ready for the next phase: a loving wife who will share his faith and work at his side when he becomes a pastor. But a good woman is hard to find, so like any good engineer, David turns the project over to experts: an online matchmaking agency. The pretty, blond teacher with denim blue eyes seems like a match made in heaven. Or is she too good to be true? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Speculative/Science Fiction:

The Chase by Bradley Caffee -- in the Chase. Be the hero. Or die trying. The chaos and anarchy following the Great Collapse nearly brought the world to its knees until the unchanging Law brought order and peace. Generations later, the twelve alliances of the World Coalition come together once a year to allow their best and brightest young people to compete in the Chase. The prize? A chance to pass exactly one new law. The son of two former Chase runners, Willis Thomson is the top trainee in the Western Alliance. With the expectations of the world and his heritage driving him, he leads his elite Red Team as they prepare for his moment to become a coveted law-changer. Perryn Davis, the new leader of the Blue Team, struggles to survive as she competes as one of the designated losers. She knows that losing means genetic recoding, a process that cannot go on indefinitely, and longs to age out of the program before it kills her. When a mysterious new racer with knowledge of the outside shows up at their orbiting training center, the natural order of the Western Alliance trainees is upended. In a world where too much knowledge is dangerous, Willis and Perryn find themselves in a race to save their lives and uncover the hidden underbelly of the peaceful World Coalition. (Speculative/Science Fiction from Mountain Brook Fire)


Cold Case Trail by Sharee Stover -- Following the clues could be the last thing they do… Temporarily working in the cold case division was supposed to mean less danger for state trooper Trey Jackson and his injured K-9 partner, Magnum—until they thwart an abduction. Now he must protect profiler Justine Stark, even as she blames him for her friend’s death ten years ago. Can he right past wrongs by finally solving the murder…and making sure Justine lives to find closure? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Finding Home by Candee Fick, Two hearts longing for home. (Contemporary Romance)

Love Found in Cranberry Cover by June Foster, Can Blake and Gracie learn who's behind the danger that threatens them? Will a small-town girl and big-city boy find a life together? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

A Night Divine by Dawn Kinzer, One chilly December night, a tragedy connects Camryn and Trace, and the devastating experience spurs her into volunteering with his team. But as Christmas Eve approaches and the two grow closer, secrets have the potential to break someone’s heart. (Contemporary Romance)

Miracle in Milan by MaryAnn Diorio, When a young, female auditor discovers evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler, she must choose between ruining herself or ruining him. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

Let It Be Me by Becky Wade, The one woman he wants is the one he cannot have. (Contemporary Romance)

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Tracy Crump

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Tracy Crump

Linda: Welcome to my blog and congratulations on your recent release Health, Healing, and Wholeness. Your work has been published in magazines, anthologies, and devotions. What made you decide to create this particular collection? 

Tracy: It was actually an agent I met at a writing conference who suggested a devotional book since I’d published so many devotions. With my background as an ICU nurse and caregiver, I thought my experiences would make the perfect topic, especially since I witnessed God’s miracles in many situations. My prayer is that readers will find hope through the stories and Scripture I chose. 

LM: Tell us a bit about your journey to publication, and how did your association with Chicken Soup for the Soul come about? 

Tracy: I had published a couple of articles when I joined a writers group headed up by Marylane Wade
Koch. She emailed me one day and said Chicken Soup for the Soul was accepting submissions for a nurses’ book. She knew I had worked in ICU years before and said, “Why don’t you try submitting a story?” I just laughed because I didn’t think there was any way they would publish anything I wrote, so I let the deadline pass. A few days later, Marylane emailed again and said, “Chicken Soup extended the deadline for the nurse’s soul book. Why don’t you try submitting something?” I ended up submitting five stories, and they chose two to publish. After a few more acceptances, Marylane and I started conducting workshops and webinars on writing for Chicken Soup. They are so kind to allow us to use their name as long as we make it clear we don’t work for them or represent them. 

LM: In addition to writing, you are also an editor, speaker, and workshop leader. How do you balance the different aspects of your career? Do you prefer one of them over the others? 

Tracy: Sometimes it’s like juggling and can be hard to keep all the balls in the air, especially right now with the book launch. I try to work on a little of each every day. I’m not a natural speaker, but I love to teach! Surprisingly, the workshops have become one of my favorite things to do. 

LM: What is one piece of advice you have for fledgling writers? 

Tracy: The two things that can propel your writing career faster than anything are attending a conference and joining a critique group. You will learn so much and make connections that not only help and encourage you but will last a lifetime. So many of the members of my launch team said we first connected through a conference. 

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

Tracy: My dream of going to Hawaii was fulfilled years ago, though I would love to travel there again. I’d also love to see Israel, Greece, and Rome or the British Isles (some of my ancestors came from Scotland), but since my husband says he won’t fly again, I’d be content with seeing the Northeast where my dad’s family still lives. 

LM: Quickies: 
Favorite childhood book: 
Drink of choice: Coffee, tea, or soft drink 
 Would you rather walk, bicycle, or drive a car: 
1) Anything Nancy Drew. I read and loved a lot of the classics, too. 
2) I’ve never cared for coffee or tea, and I don’t drink anything with caffeine. Water it is! 
3) Walk! We live near two lakes, and I walk two miles almost every day. 

LM: What is your next project? 

Tracy: I have so many stories to tell about caring for my parents and now my 100-year-old mother-in-law that I think a devotional book for caregivers might be next. I’d love for it to be not only comforting and encouraging to readers but also a resource on how to navigate some of the ups and downs of caregiving. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Tracy: Readers can find me at or or connect with me on social media through my links on

About Health, Healing, and Wholeness:

Where do you turn for help when illness or injury strikes? No matter how bleak the prognosis, you can find hope and healing in Jesus. 
Through her work as an intensive care nurse, Tracy Crump witnessed lifesaving miracles when everyone involved had given up--everyone except God. She cared for patients, family, and friends experiencing major health crises and offered encouragement no matter the situation, knowing we don't always experience healing in this life. 
Crafted with unique examples of God's miraculous power and saving grace, Health, Healing, and Wholeness blends Scripture-rich meditations with biblical principles that highlight God's mercy in times of medical need. Moving stories of a mother's sacrifice, children overcoming catastrophic accidents, the beauty of a life well lived, and joy despite traumatic brain injury instill hope. 
Whether you are experiencing a medical crisis, walking alongside someone who is, or caring for a loved one, these thirty devotions will bring comfort and peace. Prepare to embark on a journey to wholeness.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Western Wednesday: Gold Rush Bride Hannah

Western Wednesday: Gold Rush Bride Hannah 
I’m often asked where I get my story ideas and whether I’ll ever run out. With a folder chock-full of scraps and notes, I’ve got enough plotlines to keep me writing for a long time. My inspiration comes from numerous places: books or movies that I think should have been done differently, twists on Bible stories or fairy tales, newspaper headlines or magazine articles, museum displays, documentaries about people, places, or events, and snippets of conversation. 
The idea for Gold Rush Bride Hannah is partially the result of reading H.W. Brand’s The Age of Gold
(about the California gold rush). Jessie Benton Fremont, daughter of Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, is mentioned prominently in the book. She and her husband were two of the thousands who participated in the California rush. Descriptions of her exploits got me curious about other female prospectors. In my research, I discovered that there were two major rushes prior to the one in California: one in North Carolina in 1799, and one in Georgia in 1829. Further study unearthed mention of women miners in Georgia, and I was able to find a couple of diaries as well. 
Many, like Jessie Fremont, came with their husbands, some of whom stayed to work the claim after being widowed. Others came with brothers or fathers. A small percentage were single and arrived on their own. My research revealed that the reasons for their desire to work the goldfields were as numerous as the women themselves: escaping a bad situation or tarnished reputation, few or no marriage prospects, a desire for financial independence, an opportunity for adventure, and as mentioned, following a husband or relative. Whatever their motivation, these women had grit and gumption, and I knew I had to share their exploits. 
Gold Rush Bride Hannah is the first in an exciting new multi-author series. Each month from now until December, a stand-alone gold rush story will be released. 

About Gold Rush Bride Hannah: 

A brand-new widow, she doesn’t need another man in her life. He’s not looking for a wife. But when danger thrusts them together, will they change their minds...and hearts? 
Hannah Lauman’s husband has been murdered, but rather than grief, she feels...relief. She decides to remain in Georgia to work their gold claim, but a series of incidents makes it clear someone wants her gone...dead or alive. Is a chance at being a woman of means and independence worth risking her life?
Jess Vogel never breaks a promise, so when he receives a letter from a former platoon mate about being in danger, he drops everything to help his old friend. Unfortunately, he arrives just in time for the funeral. Can he convince the man’s widow he’s there for her protection not for her money?

Purchase link: