Thursday, March 30, 2023

Talkshow Thursday: Jo-Ann Roberts A Civil War Trail of Tears

A Civil War Trail of Tears
by Jo-Ann Roberts

It’s lovely to be here today on the History, Hope, and Happily Ever After blog. Many thanks to Linda for inviting me to share my upcoming April release, Book 2 in the Mended Hearts series.

For those who don't know me, I'm Jo-Ann Roberts. I write sweet historical and western romances and have been a published author both independent and traditional since 2019. I’m fascinated by the Old West and always felt I was destined to travel on a wagon train following the Oregon Trail. My romances take readers back to a simpler time and place with strong, determined, and courageous women and men who carved out their legacy in a new land.

…and Sofie Bishop and Seth Ramsey are no exceptions.

A few years ago, I watched a story on PBS about a little-known event of the Civil War, telling myself that if I ever had the time, I'd love to create a historical romance based on the life of one of those women who was branded a traitor and sent North.

Fast forward to 2021 when I created the Mended Hearts series. Each book is based on true facts during the latter half of the Civil War. Marrying the Major released in November 2021, and Winning the Widow's Heart will release April 26th, finally telling the romance that had been in my heart and head for so long. The plight of the Roswell women has long been lost to the forgotten passageways of history, and this story is to give voice to one woman’s tragic tale.

Theophile Roche, a French citizen, had been employed by the Ivy Woolen Mill. In an attempt to save
Ivy Mill Ruins, Courtesy NPS
the mill, he flew a French flag in hopes of claiming neutrality. However, the letters CSA (Confederate States of America) were found on the cloth. For two days, the mill was spared, but on July 7th, after it was proven that the claim of being neutral was false, General Sherman ordered everyone connected with the mill to be charged with treason, and the mill destroyed.

Mill workers, mostly women and children, were arrested, charged with treason, and sent to Marietta. From there, they were loaded into boxcars and given several days' rations. Not knowing where they were going or if they would return, they were not even given the opportunity to leave messages for their loved ones.

I hope Winning the Widow's Heart will do the women's story justice.


She was branded as a traitor to the Union.

He was her sworn enemy.

A marriage of convenience would be perilous…wouldn’t it?

In the summer of 1864 in Roswell, Georgia, widow Sofie Bishop struggles to manage the small family vineyard on her own. The War Between the States took her husband and her way of life. Now, with her home in ruins her only option was working at the Ivy Woolen Mill. Her woes go from bad to worse when the Yankees arrive on Roswell’s doorstep. Courteous and kind, Captain Seth Ramsey is not what Sofie expects from a Union officer. However charming he might be, she’s determined to keep her distance. Even when she finds herself branded as a traitor, arrested, and transported north to an uncertain destiny, she didn’t think she could lose much more to the Yankees.

But she was wrong.

Will his vow of love mend her wounded heart? Or would a marriage of convenience be the best she can offer?

Purchase Link:

If you enjoy reading sweet historical romances, I invite you to take a look at my books at



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Monday, March 27, 2023

Movie Monday: Centennial Summer

Movie Monday: Centennial Summer

As most of you know, I adore watching old movies, especially those produced during the 1930s and 1940s. But I was doubly happy when I unearthed the 1946 film Centennial Summer which is set during the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition – the same setting as my recent release Maeve’s Pledge.

In 1944, MGM had a smash hit Meet Me in St. Louis starring Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, and Mary Astor. Adapted from a series of short stories, the movie was a series of seasonal vignettes that take place between the summer of 1903 and the spring of 1904 when the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 World’s Fair) begins. Meet Me in St. Louis was the second-highest-grossing movie of 1944.

Produced by 20th Century Fox, Centennial Summer was based on a 1943 book by Albert E. Idell, a
novelist long forgotten, but a prolific writer of more than forty books. I couldn’t find much about him other than he was born in 1901 and passed away in 1958. The plot is a simple romance: two sisters contend for the affections of a visiting Frenchman who is in Philadelphia to prepare his country’s pavilion for the exposition.

Despite being a musical, the three leads had their singing voices dubbed. Jeanne Crain, one of the sisters, had her first major role in the 1944 Home in Indiana, and the film established her as a “name” in the industry. This led to her being cast in several movies throughout the rest of 1944 and into 1945. Interestingly, she was often cast in musicals with Louanne Hogan providing her singing voice. Linda Darnell was cast as the other sister after coming off the success of Summer Storm, and Hungarian-born Cornel Wilde (birth name: Kornél Lajos Weisz) played the Frenchman. I’d never heard of Wilde despite him being in several dozen films and TV shows. Dorothy Gish and Walter Brennan are the girl’s long-suffering parents.

The movie was director Otto Preminger’s first color film and received two Academy Award nominations: Best Original Song for All Through the Day (Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II) and Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture. The movie only earned slightly more than it cost to produce, and fans and critics panned it.

Was it as terrible as some have claimed? You be the judge:


Maeve’s Pledge

Pledges can’t be broken, can they?

Finally out from under her father’s tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She’ll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she’s forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped?

Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He’ll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia’s upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women’s suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe act as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective.

Purchase Link:

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Janice Cole Hopkins

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Janice Cole Hopkins

Welcome Janice Cole Hopkins who is sharing her new release, Simon’s Shame.

What was your inspiration for the story? Most of the time, I don’t know where my inspiration for a story comes from; it just comes. With Simon’s Shame, I suppose a lot of it came from my teaching days, but I can’t be sure. I can’t relate it to actual incidents or actual students.

How do you develop your characters?  I develop the characters early, not long after the general idea comes to me. I live with a while in my head first. My stories are character-driven, so my characters tell their own stories, both in my imagination and on paper. I just go along with what they say.

What sort of research did you do for your story, and was there an exceptionally interesting tidbit you knew you had to include? I did preliminary research on Flagstaff, Arizona and the time period (1887). Then I did more research on specific details as the need arose. An interesting tidbit was that in the 1880s, Flagstaff had more saloons than all its other businesses combined.

How are your characters like you? Different? Simon is very different from me in that he wasn’t able to read or write more than a few words. Reading and writing are a big part of what I do. I’m much more like Caroline in that we’re both teachers.

Did you set out to write a series? I did set out to write a series with Simon’s Shame because it’s part
Flagstaff photo:
Pizabay/Lou Blazquez
of a multiple-author project, where different authors take part in the series. This has turned out to be one of my favorite series of all times, and I will hate to see it come to an end.

Why did you decide to write a series? As soon as I read the description of the series, I knew this was one I needed to do. A hurting hero who becomes a recluse from something in his past fits my writing style. In fact, I’m writing five books in the series. My first one, Mason’s Memories, is already published.

How has your book changed since your first draft? It hasn’t changed a great deal, but I did find myself writing in something (a note that Simon read or wrote, discussing a book he’d read, reading some instructions, etc.) that I would have to edit out because of his problem.

How do you come up with storylines? Again, that’s hard to answer. They usually just come to me, and if I don’t have an idea already, I never agree to write a book. Out of the 54 books I have on Amazon, there’s only one that I can tell you where the idea came from because a friend sparked it.

Pixabay/Joshua M
What draws you to the time period about which you write?
I am a history and English major. I can set my books in any time period and enjoy it. However, most of my books are set in the last half of the 1800s. It’s an easy time for me to write about because I understand it well, and it doesn’t require as much research.

What is your next project? I’m working on the last book in the Hers to Redeem series, Solomon’s Secret, right now. When I finish it, all five of mine will be written:

Mason’s Memories
Simon’s Shame
Boone’s Burden
Inman’s Impersonation
Solomon’s Secret – coming August 1

About Simon's Shame:

Simon Carlson couldn’t learn to read and therefore failed at school. Thanks to his bitter father, most people see him as a simpleton or worse. When a new schoolteacher comes to Flagstaff, she treats him as a normal person, even after she finds out that he can’t read or write. She soon has problems of her own, however. Who could be trying to run her off, and can Simon protect his new friend while still protecting his heart?

Connect with Janice:
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Website/Blog -

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Release Day: Maeve's Pledge

 Release Day: Maeve's Pledge

Pledges can't be broken, can they?

Finally out from under her father's tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She'll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she's forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped?

Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He'll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia's upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women's suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe acts as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective. 

Maeve's Pledge is part of the multi-author series Suffrage Spinsters but can be read as a standalone story. Grab your copy today and curl up with some history, hope, and happily ever after.

Purchase Link:

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Ruth WuWong

About Money
By Ruth WuWong

In my book, Are Your Health and Finances Linked? A Christian Entrepreneur’s Quest (released 12/2022,, I talked about my investment strategies. An excerpt from the book is below. 

I’ve also made a video about the topic. If you’re interested, please click this link, When I studied at the University of Illinois for my MBA in finance, I learned something crucial, not from my textbooks but from a professor’s comment. “Making money is important, but how to manage what you have is even more critical.”

Financial health depends on what you do in both areas.

All too often, we hear about big lottery winners who later lost it all.

I read this piece of news online some time ago with interest. “Five years after a Kentucky resident won a $27 million jackpot, he was penniless and living in a storage shed with his wife. The couple squandered their fortune on the typical goodies that sink so many lucky winners. They bought dozens of high-end cars, mansions, and a plane…”

In my mind, managing my money takes precedence over bringing in new money. In this booklet, I’ll share my tips on the management side and also touch upon investment.

Some questions may pop up at the mention of investment.

Should Christians invest in the stock market? Is it like gambling? What does the Bible teach about investing?

Remember Jesus’ parable about the three servants and their given talents? In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus
Pixabay/S K
talked about a man who, before he left for a trip, summoned his three servants and entrusted them with talents in various amounts according to their abilities. The first two individuals doubled their money, while the third person dug a hole in the ground and hid his talent. When the master returned, he gave the third servant a hard time.

People often ask, “What did the third servant do wrong? Wasn’t it the right thing to do to keep the master’s entrusted treasure safe by burying it? Why did he get reprimanded? What would the master say if the other two invested and lost their money?”

My reply below is based on my understanding of God’s attributes. The master had the entire world under his sovereignty. Loss or gain wasn’t his primary concern. What he wanted from the three servants was their obedience to his command to make good use of what they had. Risks and challenges are critical ingredients of the abundant life that the Lord has promised us.

Everything, including my life, is entrusted to me temporarily. My responsibility as a manager is to well use what God has given me according to His guidance.

So, I not only invest in stocks but also trade options.

In my MBA program, I learned a lot about different techniques related to financial management, yet three key principles from my professors benefitted me more than anything else.

The first principle: The US market is very efficient. When a piece of news reaches you, likely most people have already learned about it. In other words, don’t believe what others tell you about which stock to buy and don’t invest in anything you don’t understand.

The second principle: At any given time, the pool of money is fixed. When someone loses money, where does the money go? To another person. If you want to make money, pay attention to those who constantly lose money and try to do the opposite.

The third principle: Risks and returns always go hand-in-hand. Higher returns mean greater risk. There is no such thing as a no-risk investment. Even money in your checking/saving account, seemingly safe on the surface, encounters two risks: opportunity cost (the failure to use cash in an economically efficient way) and inflation.

I derive most of my practical investment strategies based on these three pieces of advice.

About Ruth:

While in high school, I used to go to the library, read every book on one shelf, and then move on to the next. Reading and writing are very important to me. It seems I have a longing that can’t be satisfied by reality. I love to escape into books and become someone graceful, witty, and popular.

Currently, I work for a small biotech company and have published 120+ scientific books and papers (under a different name). I’m a latecomer to creative writing. So far, I’ve published three books.
Here are the links:

The Way We Forgive (fiction)

Love at the Garden Tomb (fiction)

Are Your Health and Finances Linked? (Nonfiction):

I’m married to my wonderful husband, a retired pastor who encourages me to pursue my dreams. We served together at three different churches from 1987 to 2020. I would love to connect with you. You can drop me a note anytime at

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Traveling Tuesday: The 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition

Traveling Tuesday: 
The 1876 Philadelphia Centennial

Pixabay/David Mark
Only twenty months had passed since the end of the American Civil War when Wabash College professor John Campbell approached Philadelphia Mayor Morton McMichael with the suggestion that his city host an exposition to celebrate the country’s one-hundredth birthday. Uncertain as to the feasibility, McMichael talked with city officials and local businessmen. Many felt an event of that size would not get the required funding. Others thought the U.S. couldn’t compete with the quality of European exhibits.

Three long years later, in January 1870, the Philadelphia City Council voted to hold the Centennial Exposition in 1876. They created a committee to study the project and seek support from the U.S. Congress. Finally, in March 1871 a bill to create a United States Centennial Commission. However, the bill also included the provision that the federal government would not be liable for any of the expenses.

The commission got to work, and somewhere along the line created a women’s committee that was responsible for fundraising. Headed by Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, great-great-granddaughter of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, the committee hit the streets, raising $1 million through the sale of stock shares. They also managed to collect 82,000 signatures and obtained letters from around the country that convinced Congress to loan $1.5 million to event organizers.

Cincinnati, Ohio businessman Alfred T. Goshorn was appointed Director General, the Fairmont Park
Photo: WikiImages
Commission set aside 450 acres to be used for the exposition. Exhibits were classified into seven departments: agriculture, art, education and science, horticulture, machinery, manufactures, and mining and metallurgy. Several men from the Philadelphia commission sailed to Europe to invite nations to participate. Not a single country declined.

Over 200 buildings were constructed, most of a temporary nature, including five main buildings: Main Hall, Memorial Hall, Machinery Hall, Agriculture Hall, and Horticulture Hall. A fence surrounded the property. Separate structures were built for state, federal, foreign, corporate and public comfort.

Temporary hotels were also constructed near the grounds, and the Centennial Lodging-House Agency created a list of rooms in hotels, boarding houses, and private homes, then sold tickets for available rooms. Streetcars increased service and the Pennsylvania Railroad ran special trains from New York City, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. An ordinance was passed that appointed 500 hundred men to the Centennial Guards who were tasked with keeping the peace, reunited lost children to parents, and received and returned lost items.

Photo: WikiImages

More than ten million visited the fair between May 10 and November 10, 1876, but the event was a financial failure for its investors. However, several sources state that the exposition impressed foreigners with the industrial and commercial growth of the U.S. resulting in an increase of exports.

I was fortunate to live near Knoxville, TN during the 1982 World’s Fair and visited numerous times. Have you ever attended a World’s Fair or large exposition of some type?


Maeve’s Pledge: Coming March 21, 2023

Pledges can’t be broken, can they?

Finally out from under her father’s tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She’ll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she’s forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped?
Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He’ll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia’s upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women’s suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe act as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective.

Pre-Order Link:

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Donna Schlachter!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Donna Schlachter!

I'm thrilled to welcome friend and fellow author back to my blog. Listen in as she talks about her latest release, Rollie's Riddle, (Suffrage Spinsters).

What was your inspiration for the story?

I like strong, independent women, and when I heard about a series where the heroine was involved in the suffrage movement in America, that drew my interest. We take it so much for granted now, the ability to vote, that maybe sometimes we don’t even bother. But once I started doing research, and saw what these women went through to give fifty percent of our population to have a voice in our community and national affairs—well, I knew I had to join the stories.

How do you develop your characters? (e.g. decide on their vocation, names, etc.)?

In this story, I came up with her name first. Rolinda is formal, authoritative, rather masculine sounding. Rollie, her nickname, is softer, kinder, quiet. Both are her. Okay, maybe not the quiet part.

For my hero, I needed somebody who would be her equal. Lucas was more complicated than Luke. I liked that, because he is complicated.

What sort of research did you do for your story, and was there an exceptionally interesting tidbit you knew you had to include?

I used the internet, of course, and checked out an article I saw in Smithsonian magazine that talked
Photo: Courtesy
about the suffrage movement in New York in 1911 or thereabouts. Really, these women were brave. After being arrested during a parade to promote their cause, they went on a hunger strike. The jail brought in medical staff to tie them to chairs, force rubber tubing down their throats and into their stomachs, then they poured a warm milk drink into a funnel to the tubing. Needless to say, most of it came right back up. Torture, I believe. This prompted me to include a couple of lesser scenes in my story, although I did have a parade, arrests, and jail time.

If you were to write a spin-off book about one of your secondary characters, which one would you choose and why?

I’d like to write a spin-off book about the two black characters in my story, named Nina and Toby. Nina ventures out into a side hustle, and Toby is a black Pinkerton detective. You can imagine the trouble they could get into together.

How do you come up with storylines?

I am currently writing in a number of multi-author projects (MAPs) so the story premise is usually provided. For example, for this book, my heroine had to be involved in the suffrage movement in the US between 1880 and 1920, and there had to be a happily ever after.

Pixabay/Dariusz Sankowski
What draws you to the time period about which you write?

My writing actually spans a lot of years – 1784 through to contemporary. I am interested in stories. When they happen isn’t my focus—I want to know who, what, where, when, and why. Oh, and how, too.

Why do you write in your particular genre?

I pick the genre that the story needs to be told well. I was once asked to change a story I set in 1956 to contemporary, and I thanked them but declined. In most cases, when the story is set is as much a character and a catalyst of the plot as are the plot and human characters. For me, changing the setting would be like asking the Pillsbury Dough Boy to be made out of cotton candy instead of dough. Cotton candy wouldn’t squeak when poked.

What is your process for writing? (do you outline, have a special place or time of day you write, etc.) What is your favorite part of the process?

I think about the story while I’m writing the previous one. Then I spend a couple of days writing a 4-10 page outline, usually two scenes per chapter, one from the heroine’s point of view, one from the hero’s. Sometimes there is an additional point of view tossed in occasionally from a villain or a secondary character who just won’t stay quiet. I prefer to write in the morning, when I feel the most alert.

My favorite part of the writing process is when I get to write THE END.

Seriously. Because by that time, I have another book ruminating around in my head—or, as I like to call it, percolating.

How does/did your job prepare you for being a novelist?

I am an accountant by training, a storyteller by nature. Numbers gave me my first heroine and
Pixabay/Steve Buissine
storyline, which turned into a 12-book cozy mystery series and a 4-book spin-off. I loved that character, because she is so much like me, except she’s much quicker with the comebacks.

My venture into historical romance came with an invitation to join a Pony Express collection of stories, for which I will always be grateful to Mary Davis. She taught me how to write sweet shorter romance and history.

What is one thing you wish you could do?

I wish I could write a perfect first draft the first time, and not have to edit.

What is your advice to fledgling writers?

Don’t give up. Don’t stop going to conferences. Don’t stop reading. But realize that all the self-discipline in the world, all the teaching, all the words, won’t help unless you know where your story starts, where it’s going, and how it will get there.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Writing a book like the ones published now. By the time you’re ready to publish, today’s bestsellers will be old hat. Write your story, your way. Be true to the tale.

What writers or books have influenced you?

Agatha Christie. Ngaio Marsh. Margaret Mizushima.

What is your next project?

Next project is a historical romance in a multi-author series that requires three men to court the same woman, and for her to choose a husband. Kind of like Bachelorette meets Seven Brides for Seven Men, except there’s only three men. And the reader doesn’t know which one she will choose until she does (at least, that’s the goal).

Rollie's Riddle

A senate contender, a suffragette, and stolen money—which is more important?

Rolinda Wheaton—or Rollie to her friends—is a journalist at the Whispering Pines Echo, the local weekly newspaper. In fact, she’s the only journalist, since she inherited the paper from her parents. Her brother Paul owns and operates the town livery. Rollie is a strong supporter of women’s suffrage, but her brother is against it. Rollie has been a spinster so long she’s given up any foolish notions of marriage, and instead focused on her business, her career, and her passion. She attends a gala event where she meets Lucas Bryant.

Lucas Bryant is looking for a wife—one that will make him look good when he runs for state senate in 1896. He needs somebody who is the complete opposite of himself: self-assured, well-educated, able to rub elbows with the posh of Whispering Springs and Colorado Springs, even Denver.

When Paul is arrested for transporting stolen money and tossed into jail pending the circuit court judge coming the following week, Rollie is determined to uncover the culprit. A lead about a senate contender sends her chasing after her story, where she meets Lucas Bryant again. He is smitten, but she’s not so sure. Or so ready. She has her life planned out: get the vote, get the story, and find who really stole the money. Except the more time she spends with Lucas as she unravels the story, the more her heart is drawn to him.

When it appears Lucas and the money are connected, can Rollie untwist her heartstrings? Is she doomed to love a rascal? Or can God make sense of both their lives?

Buy link:


About Donna:

A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky-clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 60 times in books; is a member of several writers' groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter. She also coaches writers who struggle to get their first draft done. Learn more at

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Friday, March 3, 2023

Fiction Friday: New Releases in Christian Fiction!

March 2023 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

A Heart to Redeem by Judith McNees -- Chris Morgan is the black sheep of the family. He’s leaned into the title, finding as many ways as he can to distance himself from his perfect parents and siblings. When he receives shocking news that rocks his perception of his sinful lifestyle, he needs help. Fast. Brandi Blakely knows exactly what kind of person Chris is. When he comes to her begging for help, she agrees to marry him with one caveat. The marriage will have an expiration date. As the two work together to get custody of the little girl he has just learned about, lines blur, and hearts become involved. Brandi refuses to let Chris in and shatter her fragile heart. When tragedy strikes, can Chris hold onto the tenuous changes he’s made, and can Brandi let go of the ugly scars from her past to see herself as a new creation in Christ? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Hidden in her Heart by Milla Holt -- Desperate to get away from her dysfunctional family and avoid the heartbreak of seeing Noah marry another woman, Eden left her hometown, dropped her infamous last name, and built a new life for herself. But when her little sister gets in trouble and pleads for Eden’s help, she doesn’t hesitate to go back. Six years after his fiancée dumped him at the altar, Noah has found fulfillment running the youth ministry in his father’s church. When a young man under his pastoral care gets a girl pregnant, Noah’s there to give guidance and support. He’s not prepared to run into the expectant mother’s sister, his former best friend Eden, who ghosted him years ago. Friendship deepens into attraction as Eden and Noah unite to protect the teen couple from Eden’s parents’ headline-seeking schemes. But twice-bitten Noah has thick walls around his heart, and Eden has forgotten how to trust. Will they miss their chance to build a life together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

After the Shadows by Amanda Cabot -- A brighter future awaits—if she can escape the shadows of the past. Emily Leland sheds no tears when her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, but what awaits her back home in Sweetwater Crossing is far from the welcome and comfort she expected. First she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances. Then the house where the handsome new schoolteacher, Craig Ferguson, and his son are supposed to board burns, leaving them homeless. When Emily proposes turning the family home into a boardinghouse, her sister is so incensed that she leaves town. Alone and broke, her family name sullied by controversy, Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father’s death—and to aid Craig, despite her fears of men. The widowed schoolmaster proves to be a devoted father, an innovative teacher, and an unexpected ally. As they work to uncover the truth, they just may find the key to unlock a future neither could have imagined. (Historical Romance from Revell)

Beyond Wounded Hearts by Cynthia Roemer -- They were North and South ~ Faithful and Faithless. After suffering disabling burns during the fall of Richmond, Adelaide Hanover awakens in a hospital alone and destitute, escalating her already stanch hatred for Yankees. When the Union soldier who freed her from the rubble begins paying her visits, she wants nothing to do with him … or his faith. Yet, his persistent kindness penetrates her resolve and forges a much-needed friendship. But after a dangerous man threatens Addie, she flees Richmond, intent on solving the mystery to her aunt’s dying wish before he does. Haunted by a tragic failure in his past, Corporal Luke Gallagher takes Adelaide’s plight on as his own. Though his strong beliefs collide with his growing feelings for her, he offers his family’s home as a place to convalesce. Adelaide’s initial rejection, followed by her sudden willingness to accept his benevolence, hints there’s more to the decision than a mere change of heart. When trouble follows her, endangering her safety, as well as his family’s, Luke must lay his life and his convictions on the line to save them. (Historical Romance, Scrivenings Press)

Confessions to a Stranger
by Danielle Grandinetti -- She’s lost her future. He’s sacrificed his. Now they have a chance to reclaim it—together. Wisconsin, 1930—While fleeing for her life, Adaleigh Sirland’s rescue of a child introduces her to a family who provides her safe harbor. When her identity comes under threat of exposure, she must choose between running once more or helping the man who teaches her to hope again. First mate David Martins is intrigued by the mysterious woman taken in by his grandmother, but she wrestles with a troubled past. When his estranged father is arrested for murder, can David put aside his own struggles in time to discern which secret threatens Adaleigh before it kills them both? Welcome to Crow’s Nest, where danger and romance meet at the water’s edge. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Dreams of the Heart by Penny Zeller -- Sometimes the hardest battles take place in the heart. Poverty and abuse at the hands of her drunkard father leaves Hannah Bane trapped and alone. Without hope, she prays for a miracle just on the off-chance God will hear her. Will the handsome new deputy, who seems to be watching her every move, be Hannah’s one chance to escape the only life she’s ever known? For as long as he can remember, John Mark Eliason has wanted to be a deputy sheriff. When a job opens in the nearby town of Poplar Springs, he eagerly accepts, but finds his greatest mission won’t be tracking down criminals and bringing justice to the ruthless Wyoming town, but saving a beautiful young woman he barely knows. Will an unexpected answer to a difficult situation show how love can endure—and even thrive—in an unconventional situation? Or will fear and uncertainty keep two hesitant hearts apart? (Historical Romancefrom Maplebrook Publishing)

Maeve’s Pledge by Linda Shenton Matchett -- Finally, out from under her father’s tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She’ll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she’s forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped? Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He’ll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia’s upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women’s suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe acts as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)


Scream Blue Murder by Susan Page Davis -- An old photo, a twister, and a friend being stalked…A tornado rips through town, and Campbell McBride and her dad take shelter. Afterward, they try to help others who were hard hit, and a body is discovered in the debris of a cottage near their friends’ home. Was the man dead before the twister struck? The owners of the ruined cottage hire True Blue Investigations to help identify the victim and find out how he got on their property. Meanwhile, among the volunteers, Campbell meets her mother’s old school friend, Jackie. It seems Jackie married her mom’s former boyfriend—and now she has eyes on Campbell’s widowed father. (Mystery from Scrivenings Press)

Speculative Fiction:

Lost in Wonderfland by Tabitha Bouldin -- If you make a deal with evil, be prepared for the consequences. When a metal dragon kidnaps Alice, Hatter gathers the troops and charges off to rescue her. If only things were so uncomplicated. In the Ivory Kingdom, they find upheaval of the worst kind and all heading to civil war spearheaded by a man known as the Bandersnatch. Turmoil and the terror of fighting against a giant wolf, the Bandersnatch is bad enough, but when the Ivory Queen’s secrets are exposed, Hatter and Alice face off in a battle of wills and points of view. How can Alice trust a woman who deceived them? Why can’t Hatter see the bigger picture? If they don’t reconcile their differences, more could be at risk than the Ivory Kingdom. More questions than answers bombard them in their quest for truth and freedom for all. Who is stealing children? What dark secret overshadows the Ivory Kingdom? Can they avoid the Bandersnatch’s clutches? And most important of all, who can they trust? (Speculative Fiction from Celebrate Lit Publishing)


From Chaos by Karen Randau -- When Kelsey is forced to flee from her ex-husband's family with secrets she can't risk revealing, she finds herself in a situation more dangerous than ever before. With no one else to turn to, Kelsey and her friend Greg must outwit their pursuers or risk becoming victims themselves. From Chaos is the second book in the Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series, and it follows the riveting journey of two people with very different backgrounds and soul-crushing experiences. If they overcome the unbeatable odds they face together, they'll come out of it stronger and more committed to each other. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic, Independently Published)

Out of the Ashes by Melanie D. Snitker -- He thought it was just a structure fire. As a firefighter, Bryce Keyes is no stranger when it comes to running into a burning building. What he didn't expect was coming face-to-face with the woman he loved years ago. Getting her out safely is one thing, but when it looks like she was the arsonist's target, Bryce realizes he can't just let her walk away again. Especially not while her life is in danger. She's desperate to escape. For Megan Bristow, returning to Destiny, Texas was about saying a final goodbye to a dysfunctional family and the memories she's tried hard to bury. She planned to go in, help her mother tie up loose ends, and get out again. When someone makes an attempt on her life, Megan realizes those loose ends are only the beginning of a tangled web, and she's been drawn right into the center of it. They'll have to put the past behind them. Only by working together will they be able to figure out who's hunting her and why - before it's too late. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic, Independently Published)

Under Fire by Lynn H. Blackburn -- USSS Special Agent Zane Thacker has landed his dream assignment protecting the president of the United States. When the president plans a fundraiser at the exclusive estate of a political supporter in Raleigh, Zane is thrilled to be working again with Special Agent Tessa Reed, his best friend–and the woman he desperately wishes could be more. Though Tessa almost lost everything, she battled her demons and came out on the other side healthy and healed. But when her role as the liaison between the Raleigh office and the president’s protective detail wrenches her past back into the present, her greatest failure threatens to come to light. Zane refuses to let Tessa go through this alone. But can he stand by the woman he loves and protect the president from a mounting threat at the same time? Sparks fly as award-winning romantic suspense writer Lynn H. Blackburn closes out her Defend and Protect series with this explosive tale of secrets kept, lies exposed, and relationships restored. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Revell)

Yosemite Firestorm by Tanya Stowe -- A raging forest fire isn’t the only threat…When an act of arson claims the life of a hiker, Yosemite Park Ranger Livy Chatham is the only witness—putting her right into the path of determined criminals. Only rock climber Hayden Bryant can protect her from the killers destroying all evidence of their crimes. But can Livy and Hayden outrun the danger that’s as hot on their heels as the fires blazing through Yosemite? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

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

A Divine RomanceIfueko Ogbomo, The royal decree that couples this unlikely pair will make or break the history of an ancient empire. (Biblical Romance)

Brooke: Ronie Kendig, Prioritizing career over family cost Brooke Metcalfe Mulroney everything—her relationship with her siblings, her marriage, her children. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

Daughter of Eden: Jill Eileen Smith, How will they ever survive out of Eden? (Historical/Biblical)

Death in High Places: Sara L. Jameson, The clock is ticking and what Jacob uncovers is more devastating than anything he could have imagined. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

Five Steps Beyond: Luana Ehrlich, Will his prayers be answered in time or has his time come to an end? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

High Plains Bargain: Patricia Collier, Martie assumes that she will inherit the ranch, but the will changes everything. (Historical Romance)

Legacy: Keith Windham, If you had the chance to change the past, would you? (Speculative Fiction/Time Travel)

Memory Lane: Becky Wade, There’s no way to discover those answers except to walk beside him down memory lane. (Contemporary Romance)

One Wonders: Luana Ehrlich, Will Silas be able to uncover the truth before it’s too late and someone gets hurt? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

Promise of Purity: Marguerite Martin Gray, Is true purity found in the laws of religion or in the hearts of the faithful? (Historical Romance)

Samantha’s Wish: Ruth Kyser, With Christmas coming soon, Samantha Morgan just wants to go home. (Contemporary Romance)

Season Two Snafu: Cindy M. Amos, Will there be too many snafus to win a championship this season? (Contemporary Romance)

Simple Interest: Susan Page Davis, She's determined to get back her stolen ring and the bank's money--whether the Rangers help her or not. (Western)

The Dark Reckoning: Sarah Hamaker, Will Cy and Isana uncover the truth about the list before their lives are snuffed out? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

Trading Thomas: Ora Smith, Will this naïve young settler survive the perils awaiting him and forge peace between two peoples? (Action/Adventure/Historical)

Winning His Trust: Toni Shiloh, To build a future together, they must both let go of the past. (Contemporary Romance)

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Anchored Hearts by Julie Arduini

Repairing Hearts by Julie Arduini

What if a family with a unique birth story stays in the spotlight due to tragedy?

That’s the series premise for Surrendering Hearts, my six-book Christian/Sweet/Small Town series featuring the Hart sextuplets. Each sibling will have their own book, starting with Jordyn in Anchored Hearts.

It’s Ryan’s turn in Repairing Hearts and this has been a fun one to write. Although not quite finished, you definitely get to know Ryan in Anchored Hearts. Ryan’s the loner, and he’s made a big mistake. Once out of the Navy, he refuses to move home and return to the chaos his siblings seem to bring. He buys a country fixer-upper in Watkins Glen, New York overlooking Seneca Lake.

It’s way more than a place that needs TLC. It needs a complete overhaul.

Repairing Hearts is about that process, and the shortcut Ryan and his brother
Evan used to get Ryan a nice house without going bankrupt. Evan created a reality series to showcase their 25th birthday. All Ryan has to do is pick a winning contestant to manage the repair and remodel that will take place in another reality show featuring the sextuplets helping with the home improvements.

The show, Repairing Ryan’s Heart, turns out to be more of a dating experience than anything. Although some of the women have home repair and construction experience, the cameras are on in private Ryan’s near every moment.

All my books have a surrender issue and chocolate mentions, and Ryan has to let his guard down. As the show continues, he learns how much Evan grieves the loss of their mother. It’s a box of feelings Ryan hasn’t opened, either. As Jordyn has a new career helping families like them, and Paige is off seeking help because of her grief, Ryan doesn’t just need his home transformed, he needs his heart healed as well.

With any reality show, there are twists, turns, and secrets. BJ Wallace wants no part of the show, but her best friend secretly submitted BJ’s application. She’s spent most of her life hiding her past and her hurt, and Repairing Ryan’s Heart and falling for Ryan Hart may destroy her and the Hart family.

The series will continue with Evan and Building Hearts. The winner from Repairing Ryan’s Heart will work with the siblings and their crews as each sextuplet is assigned a room to remodel. Evan has grand plans to make this show a success, but of course, that’s not going to happen without obstacles, right?

If you haven’t read Anchored Hearts yet, now is a perfect time so you are ready for the Repairing Hearts release this year. If you want to be in the loop, follow me on Link Tree below where my social media and book site links are there for your convenience.

Do you like reality shows? How about family drama? Although the series is a romance, I’ve enjoyed incorporating the Hart sextuplets into each book.

About Repairing Hearts

What happens when a reality show messes up sextuplet Ryan Hart’s privacy more than the blight called his home?

Ryan Hart, the second oldest of the sextuplets, can’t enjoy the solitude he craves when he agrees to be in a reality show. The plan is to discover a project manager to re-do his dump of a home. The truth is the show is more about Ryan’s dating life. Can he keep his guard up when everything around him is falling apart faster than the shingles on his roof? 

BJ Wallace loves her quiet life in Wisconsin she’s created far from her traumatic childhood. She then learns her best friend secretly applied BJ to a home improvement reality show and BJ won a spot contending for sextuplet Ryan Hart’s home improvement project. As the show features more of Ryan than the house, BJ falls for him. Will she win the show and destroy Ryan and his family with her past, or sacrifice her heart to protect Ryan?


Read Book #1 in the Surrendering Hearts series, Anchored Hearts, to meet Ryan and his siblings.

Anchored Hearts Kindle:

Anchored Hearts Paperback: