Thursday, July 22, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Character Interview - Caroline Vogel

 Talkshow Thursday: Character Interview - Caroline Vogel


I'm very excited to be part of the Gold Rush Bride series. Gold Rush Bride Hannah came out in May 2021, and this past week Gold Rush Bride Caroline, the second book in the series, was released. Featuring Caroline Vogel, Hannah's daughter, the story is set during the 1859 Pike's Peak gold rush that took place in the Kansas Territory. That's right Pike's Peak and the surrounding area were part of Kansas until the influx of people from the gold rush induced Congress to create the Colorado Territory.

Grab your favorite beverage, put up your feet, and meet Caroline Vogel:

LM: As I hear it, you took a wagon train from Georgia to Pike’s Peak to try your hand in the gold fields. Tell us about that. 
 
Caroline: I need a change. A big change. Life in Dahlonega was strangling me. People treated me with pity or scorn, and finding love was an exercise in futility. My parents struck it rich during the 1829 Georgia gold rush, and frankly, every potential suitor was more interested in their money than me. I figured if Mother could find success in the gold fields thirty years ago, I had a good chance. The wagon trail ride was long and tedious, with only a few hair-raising incidents. 
 
LM: Care to share one of those incidents? 
 
Caroline: I don’t want to give too much away, but going through Indian territory is always dangerous. 
 
LM: What was it like being one of only a few women prospectors at Pike’s Peak? 
 
Caroline: A lot of the men didn’t like us gals there, that’s for sure. They seemed to resent us and often
tried to talk us out of staying. A couple of times they tried to scare us off, and that was a little dicey. Some of the women couldn’t handle the physicality of the work and left or found jobs in town. Others gave up when their claim didn’t produce. The newspapers made it sound like gold was laying on the ground for the taking, and when people discovered that wasn’t the case, they lost interest. 
 
LM: You mentioned the physicality of searching for gold. Tell us about that. 

Caroline: Well, the days are long. I don’t want to bore you with too much detail, but there are several ways to mine for gold, the simplest being to pan for it. That water is plenty cold, coming out of the mountains during the spring thaw. Either bending or squatting, you shovel dirt from the river bed into your pan, then pick out the largest of the rocks. You swirl the pan in a circular motion until the bulk of the sand and dirt is gone. These motions are repeated until you get down the fine grains and can pick out the gold. If you’re lucky you found nuggets that are easy to pick out and worth a lot. But a lot of the gold is flakes the size of an eyelash. Patience and stamina are crucial for any good prospector. 
 
LM: What was the area like? 
 
Caroline: There were a bunch of mining camps, mostly made up of tents and a few hastily built cabins. Denver City and Boulder City were two of the larger camps. The boom was initially concentrated along the South Platte River, in Clear Creek Canyon, and in Breckenridge. Some say there were over 100,000 folks who came. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. Seemed like men were shoulder to shoulder in the rivers. There were few laws, and lots of alcohol flowed through the camps, creating all sorts of problems. One of the reasons that I’m glad I know how to shoot. 
 
LM: Tell us about that handsome assistant trail boss. 
 
Caroline: (flushes and waves her hand) Suffice it to say, he’s alternately intriguing and infuriating.

LM: Thanks for visiting with us, Caroline.  We wish you the best.

_______________________

Check out the video trailer for Gold Rush Bride Caroline!


Gold Rush Bride Caroline: 

She thinks he’s high-handed and out for her gold. He thinks she’s difficult and money-hungry. Will they discover that love is the true treasure? 

Scarred in a childhood accident, Caroline Vogel has yet to find a man willing to marry her, so she heads to the Pike’s Peak gold fields to pan enough ore to become a woman of means. When she and the handsome assistant trail boss hit it off, she begins to hope her future may not be spent alone. Then she catches wind of dark secrets from the man’s past, and she’s not sure what or who to believe. 
 
Orphaned as a teenager, Oliver Llewellyn stole to survive, then used his skills for the army during the war. Nowadays, he applies his knowledge to catch dangerous thieves for the Pinkerton Agency, so guarding a young woman during a wagon train journey should be easy. But he didn’t count on the fact she’d angered a man bent on revenge. He also didn’t count on losing his heart. 
 
Gold Rush Bride Caroline is part of the exciting multi-author Gold Rush Brides series set in 19th century America.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3zdxTm9

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Release Day: Gold Rush Bride Caroline

Release Day: Gold Rush Bride Caroline




I'm thrilled to announce today's release of Gold Rush Bride Caroline, Book 2 in the multi-author Gold Rush Brides series. Set during the Pike's Peak rush of 1859, the book tells the story of Hannah and Jesse Vogel's (Book 1) daughter.  An often-overlooked event, this rush lasted from July 1858 until the creation of the Colorado Territory in February 1861 and attracted more than 100,000 prospectors.

Participants were called "Fifty-Niners" after 1859 (the peak year of the rush) and used the motto Pike's Peak or Bust. Despite its name, the rush occurred about eighty-five miles north of Pike's Peak. Lots of mining camps were created, some of which became cities in their own right, while some became ghost towns after the end of the rush.

In celebration of the launch, I'm doing a fun giveaway you can enter and share with your friends. You are going to love the prizes because each one is handmade by an artist on Etsy. In addition to an autographed copy of Gold Rush Bride Caroline, the winner will receive a framed canvas by TheWoodedLane featuring Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains,  a pair of handmade "mountain" tea towels by Kettenglied, a handcrafted lace bookmark from JAustenBoutiqueCo.  If an international winner is chosen, he or she will win an ebook edition of Gold Rush Bride Caroline and a $50 Visa Gift Card. 

To enter the giveaway,  follow the link to fill out the Rafflecopter form: a Rafflecopter giveaway.



I hope you'll enter the giveaway and help me spread the word about Gold Rush Bride Caroline. Meanwhile, you can grab your copy here.

Have you seen the book trailer?


About Gold Rush Bride Caroline:

She thinks he’s high-handed and out for her gold. He thinks she’s difficult and money-hungry. Will they discover that love is the true treasure? 
 
Scarred in a childhood accident, Caroline Vogel has yet to find a man willing to marry her, so she heads to the Pike’s Peak gold fields to pan enough ore to become a woman of means. When she and the handsome assistant trail boss hit it off, she begins to hope her future may not be spent alone. Then she catches wind of dark secrets from the man’s past, and she’s not sure what or who to believe. 
 
Orphaned as a teenager, Oliver Llewellyn stole to survive, then used his skills for the army during the war. Nowadays, he applies his knowledge to catch dangerous thieves for the Pinkerton Agency, so guarding a young woman during a wagon train journey should be easy. But he didn’t count on the fact she’d angered a man bent on revenge. He also didn’t count on losing his heart.

Purchase link: https://amzn.to/3e1Xeac

Friday, July 2, 2021

Fiction Friday: ACFW New Releases

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

A Future to Fight For by Mindy Obenhaus -- Widow Paisley Wainwright’s so close to taking her Texas event-planning business to the next level by turning Renwick Castle into a wedding venue. Only one thing stands in the way: her longtime rival, Crockett Devereaux, who wants the building to become a museum. When the building’s owners insist they collaborate to implement both plans, can Paisley and Crockett put their differences aside…and fight for their dreams together? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

The Cowgirl’s Sacrifice by Tina Radcliffe -- Needing time to heal after a rodeo injury, Kate Rainbolt heads to her family ranch to accept the foreman job her brothers offered her months ago. But the position’s already been filled by her ex-boyfriend, Jess McNally, and the only open job reports to him. With Jess as her temporary boss—and turning into something more—might he finally convince Kate to put down roots? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

The Yes Dare by Kathleen Y’Barbo -- After spending most of her adult life as a football wife and mother to twin sons, fashionista Coco Sutton is learning how to be single and fabulous. Emphasis on Fabulous. The sports trophies, memorabilia, and heavy masculine wood furniture in the home she used to share with Ryan have been banished to the attic, and her home is now a cozy haven of plush candle-scented comfort. She’s got big plans that include owning a boutique or maybe an art gallery, but she never planned to take on the biggest challenge of her life: staying single. Then her best friend gives her a copy of a book called The Yes Dare, and all her plans are turned upside down. (Contemporary Romance from White Glove Publishing)

Make You Feel My Love by Robin Lee Hatcher -- In 1895, Cora Anderson jumps on a cross-country train to escape New York society and her domineering father. She leaves with only some spare clothing, jewelry that once belonged to her grandmother, her cherished violin, and hopes for an uncertain future. The tiny town of Chickadee Creek is idyllic and welcoming, but it’s only a matter of time before Cora’s new friends discover the secrets of her past. More than a hundred years later, Chelsea Spencer is fleeing a dangerous situation of her own when her great aunt’s antique shop in Chickadee Creek becomes the perfect haven. At the same time, up-and-coming Hollywood star Liam Chandler has returned to the town of his ancestors to grieve some painful family losses and ponder the direction of his career. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson)

General Contemporary:

Hollywood is Not Home by Annmarie M. Roberts -- Would you trade fame for privacy? Movie star Maggie Malone has a glamorous lifestyle with everything money can buy―except privacy. Hounded by the paparazzi and ridiculed for her faith, Maggie secretly struggles with severe anxiety and loneliness. All she desires is to be herself--southern girl by birth, ranch lover by heart. When an anonymous benefactor invites Maggie to participate in a secret project, will her hopelessness find a new direction? Or will she become another celebrity travesty? What if she discovers Hollywood is not Home? Her faith, family, love, and future hang in the balance . (General Romance from Ambassador International)

Gold Rush Bride Caroline by Linda Shenton Matchett -- Scarred in a childhood accident, Caroline Vogel has yet to find a man willing to marry her, so she heads to the Pike’s Peak goldfields to pan enough ore to become a woman of means. When she and the handsome assistant trail boss hit it off, she begins to hope her future may not be spent alone. Then she catches wind of dark secrets from the man’s past, and she’s not sure what or who to believe. Orphaned as a teenager, Oliver Llewellyn stole to survive, then used his skills for the army during the war. Nowadays, he applies his knowledge to catch dangerous thieves for the Pinkerton Agency, so guarding a young woman during a wagon train journey should be easy. But he didn’t count on the fact she’d angered a man bent on revenge. He also didn’t count on losing his heart. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Rescuing Her Heart by Cindy Ervin Huff -- On visitation rounds as a lay preacher, the last thing rancher Jed Holt expects is to be shot at from the barn next to a burned-down homestead. But the soot-covered woman hiding inside needs protecting, and Jed is the man to do it whether she likes it or not. Delilah James's nightmares began when she came to Kansas as a mail-order bride. Her husband was nothing like his letters. Now that he is dead, she can't shake his abuse from her heart. Trusting men tops her never-again list, and taking a job on the Holt ranch as a housekeeper is a means to save money and bring her parents west. But her attraction to the compassionate former chaplain both angers and confuses her. Jed has his own nightmares from a POW camp and understands Delilah better than she knows. Can two broken people form a forever bond? (Historical Romance from Iron Stream Media)

Rocky Mountain Restoration by Lisa J. Flickinger -- Josephine Thorebourne doesn’t deserve happiness. Not after the mess she’s made. Mid-voyage, on the steamship Jameson, she learns of the tragic loss of her family’s money. Money she stole with the hopes of turning a profit. What should be a delightful voyage up the Canadian coast turns into a journey of regret. Josephine seeks the solace of the man she loves, only to find out he’s an imposter. Left with no other choice, she must return to her home town of Stony Creek and face the anger of those she’s betrayed. Owen Kelly was given the opportunity of a lifetime to steward on the SS Jameson. The work meant he could escape his difficult upbringing along the wharves of Chicago. When his heart falls for the woman in cabin eight, Owen must decide if he will continue his work on the ship or follow the love of his life to her Rocky Mountain home. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

The Scarlet Pen by Jennifer Uhlarik -- Enjoy a tale of true but forgotten history of an 19th Century serial killer whose silver-tongued ways almost trap a young woman into a nightmarish marriage. In 1876, Emma Draycott is charmed into a quick engagement with childhood friend Stephen Dee Richards after reconnecting with him at a church event in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. But within the week, Stephen leaves to “make his fame and fortune.” The heartbroken Emma gives him a special pen to write to her, and he does with tales of grand adventures. Secret Service agent Clay Timmons arrives in Mount Pleasant to track purchases made with fake currency. Every trail leads back to Stephen—and therefore, Emma. Can he convince the na├»ve woman she is engaged to a charlatan who is being linked a string of deaths in Nebraska? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

General Historical:

If it Rains by Jennifer L. Wright -- It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey. Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband―and her new social class―expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading. (General Historical from Tyndale House)

Western:

A Man with a Past by Mary Connealy -- Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He's got brothers he can't remember, and he's interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he's already married. He can't imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that--twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix. Soon it's clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. Ajs love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they're to have any chance at a future. (Western from Bethany House)

Romantic Suspense/Thriller:

Lethal Cover-Up by Darlene L. Turner -- Some secrets are dangerous…But uncovering the truth could be deadly. Border patrol officer Madison Steele knows her sister Leah’s fatal car crash was no accident. Someone’s willing to kill to cover up a pharmaceutical company’s deadly crime of distributing tainted drugs. Now they are after Madison to tie off loose ends. But with her high school sweetheart, Canadian police constable Tucker Reed, at her side, can Madison expose the company’s deadly plan before she becomes the next victim? (Romantic Suspense/Thriller from Love Inspired Suspense (Harlequin))

Speculative Fiction/Fantasy:

Journey to ChiYah by Kimberly Russell -- JADE PEPPERDINE HAS A PROBLEM: Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start. Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair ... a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination. (Speculative Fiction/Fantasy, Independently Published)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
 
 
Amish Country Threats by Dana R. Lynn, Her brother was murdered. Will she be next? (Romantic Suspense/Thriller)
 
 
Where Hope Begins by Heidi Chiavaroli, This is Book 2 in The Orchard House Bed and Breakfast Series, a contemporary twist on the well-loved classic, Little Women. (General Contemporary)
 
 
Discovering Emily by Carlene Havel, How can Emily rebuild her life after her husband deserts her? (Contemporary Romance)
 
 
It’s Mystery…Birds by Janetta Fudge Messmer, Follow the Early Birds, plus one, on an RV journey where snooping around leads them to more than clues. It may even include a little matchmaking amid criminal activity. (Mystery)
 
 
Secrets in September by Doreen McAvoy, Will was looking forward to eighth grade. Will he even make it past September? (Middle Grade)
 
 
An Unexpected Legacy by Amy R. Anguish, Smoothies brought them together but would the past tear them apart? (Romantic Suspense)

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Kathleen Neely

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Kathleen Neely 

Linda: Welcome and thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your most recent release In Search of True North. The premise sounds intriguing. What was your inspiration for the story? 

Kathleen: Writers are always looking for ideas. I can’t say it was any divine inspiration—although I believe that God directs our paths. I heard a man speaking about his adopted son and applauding the birthmother who made the difficult decision. From there, Mallory’s story emerged. What if the child grew up right within her family? What if she could never speak about giving birth to him? I imagined the growing bitterness. The helpless feeling that she had lost a part of herself. Writers look for an edge. Some details to add a bit of zing to the plot. What if the biological father didn’t know? What if he were now famous? From there, In Search of True North began to take shape. 

LM: How do you come up with your characters? Are they based on any real people in your life, perhaps even yourself? 

Kathleen: My characters are very loosely based on real life people. I don’t sit down and envision someone I know and write them into a story. I do, however, watch people. Early in the book, Mallory holds on to bitterness and is an experienced blame-shifter. Brady is a fixer. Elliott is driven. Liam is laid-back and can’t be rattled. We all know those people. Writers watch them and learn from them. They make our writing richer. 

LM: Research is an important part of writing. What sort of research did you do for In Search of True North? Was there any sort of “aha” tidbit you found that you knew needed to be included? 

Kathleen: When writing, I love sub-topics. In Beauty for Ashes, Angie was an amateur violinist. Del a
basketball enthusiast. In The Street Singer, we walked through the old farmhouse renovations which had little to do with Trish and Adda’s dilemma. These sub-themes add another dimension to our characters, helping us to know them more deeply. They teach us while we read (and write!) In Search of True North includes Mallory’s love for astronomy. I had to do some research on the design of the telescope, positioning of constellations, star systems, and meteor showers. Since then, I’ve found myself visiting a local science center planetarium. Mallory’s fascination was contagious. 

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

Kathleen: I imagine this varies greatly among authors. My pre-writing often looks like idle daydreaming. I allow scenarios to play out in my mind until a plot begins to take shape. Once it forms a cloudy picture, I work to define it. When I actually begin writing, I know where I’m starting and where I’m going. I don’t outline and I’m not always clear on the path, but I know the ending.

Characters are the heart of any novel. Building characters is different than building plot. There’s so much more to consider than their words and actions. Writers need to show the WHY of all a character does. To do this effectively, I sometimes use character journaling—free writing from their perspective. It helps an author to get into the mind and heart of their characters. If we don’t show the deeper part of our characters, they’re one-dimensional. Easily forgotten when the final page is read. 

LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers? Kathleen: A wealth of resources wait for you. Mentoring authors, workshops, trade books. Connect with a local group. Join a critique group. Find what works best for your quest to improve. And as simplistic as it may sound—READ. I always write better when I’m reading a well-crafted novel. 

LM: What was your favorite childhood book? 

Kathleen: I was and still am a great fan of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. So much richness between those pages! 

LM: What is your next project? 

Kathleen: I have a time-slip novel that will release this fall. I don’t have a firm date, but look for Arms of Freedom when the trees begin to turn colors. 

Additionally, I’m working on a story about a troubled marriage amidst a life-changing illness. I live with Parkinson’s Disease and have long wanted to write a character with PD. In this story, Kate begins to have early symptoms while she and her husband are attempting to reconcile their marriage. Kate refuses to tell him of her diagnosis because she doesn’t want him back out of pity. I’m hopeful that you’ll see that next spring. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Kathleen: Here are some ways to contact me: 



About In Search of True North:

She looked to the sky for true north but found that home is where the heart is.

When heartbroken Mallory Carter leaves home at graduation to live a free-spirited life at the beach, she decides to never burden her family or God with her choices again. She suffers twelve long years of loneliness and shallow relationships, comforted only by the homemade telescope she uses to stargaze. Then she receives a call that her sisters has died, leaving behind a son Mallory gave up at the tender age of seventeen. When her family pressures her to raise Samuel, she agrees, despite the fact that he's unaware of their true relationship.

Handsome architect, and Samuel's uncle, Brady Donaldson welcomes Mallory to the family, but she doesn't know how much she can trust him. Brady has a bond with Samuel that Mallor has only been able to dream of for the last twelve years. Not only that, but Mallory holds secrets that could ruin her new life. As threats surface from Mallory's past, the relationship she is building with her son is endangered. She realizes she desperately needs someone to trust, and Brady seems determined to fight for Mallory and Samuel. Search for true north has never felt so hard. Will Brady's steady love be enough to guide Mallory home, and to the God she abandoned long ago?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2U4W6fb