About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Enigma of Fire by Marilyn Leech


Avaliable now for pre-order

Enigma of Fire: A Berdie Elliott Pentecost Mystery
LOG LINE:  In the English village of Aidan Kirkwood, no divine gifts are going spare when Berdie Elliott flames into action and demystifies the enigma of fire.

BLURB
When English village, Aidan Kirkwood, experiences an explosive fire, the entire parish is aflame with rumor and innuendo until Berdie Elliott, the scorching sleuth and vicar’s wife, can douse the flames with cold, hard facts that expose the perpetrator.  A heroic dog, elusive book, and military champions come together to reveal the enigma of fire.

EXCERPT 
“Cedric, Don’t chance it. Please,” Doug’s voice trembled as he shot out the command.
“Don’t what?” Berdie asked herself as much as Doug.
“Down, Mrs. Elliott.”  Doug’s eyes wide, his breathing was short and rapid for the toil of making his wheels go toward them as fast as he could manage.
“Down?  What are you talking about?”

Berdie suddenly experienced a jolt to her body that propelled her to the ground with such force it left her breathless.  A stab of pain coursed through her while the reverberation of full-on colliding trains penetrated her ears.  The horrific ache that shot through her knees focused her senses as she tried to gather her thoughts.  Grass etched itself into her cheek, making it itch.  Then the smell of acrid smoke assaulted her nose.  She worked to catch a breath of air.  What’s happened? 

ENDORSEMENT
Are you an Agatha Christie fan?  Does the thought of an English village make you long to grab your passport and head across the pond?  Are cozy mysteries your cup of tea?  If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you won’t want to miss Marilyn Leach’s newest release, Enigma of Fire

Intrepid heroine Berdie Elliott, a vicar’s wife whose sleuthing skills were honed as an investigative reporter, faces her most challenging mystery yet when her husband’s former military comrades come to the sleepy village of Aiden Kirkwood for a sculling regatta.  From its riveting prologue to the final resolution, this story showcases Leach at her best. 
Amanda Cabot, CBA and ECPA bestselling author

PURCHASE POINTS
SHORT BIO
Marilyn Leach is a dyed-in-the-wool British enthusiast who lives lakeside near the Colorado foothills.  She enjoys viewing and reading mysteries that originate across the pond.  From the Scottish Boarders to Devon, city buzz to rural church bells, she enjoys excursions throughout the beautiful isle that inspire her writing.  Her dear friends, who have become like family, live in Reading, England.  

Friday, 2 December 2016

Bella Natale - Marianne Evans


Bella Natale! A Florentine Christmas Romance by Marianne Evans

BLURB

Ashley Coratini is bucking her family, and the odds, by embracing the chance to pursue a dream. Her grandmother has given her the gift of a three-week trip to Florence, Italy where she’s determined to immerse herself in the world of art and explore the gifts God has given her.

Widower Luca DeRosa owns and operates a premiere art gallery at the heart of Florence: L’arte Della Vita. He’s just over a year away from turning forty, but doesn’t mind the milestone. He enjoys a life spent raising his five-year-old son and scouting artistic talent.

During a walk across the Arno River via the Ponte Vecchio, he comes upon Ashley. At once he’s captivated by her artistic skills and fluid grace. From her first meeting with Luca, Ashley’s dreams take off at high velocity

But as love blooms, questions mount. Will Ashley embrace her gifts and a life in Italy that’s worlds different than the one waiting for her back in America? Can Luca trust his heart and instincts enough to embrace the love of a vibrant young woman whose spirit speaks to him so deeply?

What comes next when the dreams that they’ve dared to dream really might come true…?


TAG:

When the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true…

EXCERPT

The first thing Luca DeRosa noticed about the stranger was her hands. Perched just below him, on a ledge of the Ponte Vecchio, a waifish, brunette stroked swift, confident lines across the surface of a wire-bound sketch pad centered across her lap. Fluid grace punctuated the way she crafted a scene of the Arno, bringing her vision to life with a level of detail and eloquence that pulled him to stay put and absorb. Engrossed, she paused infrequently, just long enough to give brief study the world around her—the inward roll of fat, moisture-laden clouds, the dancing spikes of sunlight that intermittently pierced the cover of gray—before returning to her drawing.
What a gift.
The three words sounded through his spirit like a gong, eliciting a craving, the tantalizing curves of a wistful dream…
The creationist that had always resided in Luca’s soul admired the woman’s skill. Ever a tactile person, he continued to watch the way she used the tips of long, slender fingers to blend and shade. Her gentle strokes evoked a responsive warmth that built at his chest and flowed through his gut—launching the kind of intrigue and hunger only a fellow artist would truly understand, for the hunger he felt wasn’t merely physical, it seeped through the farthest reaches of his senses in a call that left behind an empty ache. A longing.
That fact alone should have prompted him to a hard pull-back from a reckless topple into attraction.  Hadn’t his heart just been extracted with nothing more than a blunt spoon? Hadn’t he just traded one hope, one dream, for another?
Luc blinked, regrouped, and took a deep breath of cold air spiced by the promise of a December snow to come. Forecasters projected a blanket of white would soon cover the cobbled streets, slated rooftops and dormant balconies of Florence. He refocused when the artist stood, carefully, since her perch was somewhat narrow and precarious. She lifted onto the wide cement rail that served as a lookout post along this particular stretch of Florence’s most historic and storied bridge.
When she swung her legs over, Luc ignored an instinct to withdraw and instead stepped forward.

Review:
Takes you to the heart of Italy. Ashley goes on what should be a short visit. A chance meeting gives her all she's ever wanted and more. 
Another wonderful read from Ms Evans that leaves you breathless and wanting more.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The First Noelle - Delia Latham


The First Noelle:

Noelle Joy stopped celebrating Christmas ten years ago, when Trevor Holden skipped out on their long-planned Christmas Eve wedding. He destroyed her trust in men, crushed her belief in God, and left her cynical about love. Gone is the bright, cheery spirit of the girl she thinks of now as “the first Noelle.” Stronger and savvier, the new Noelle would never be found waiting at the altar for a groom who didn’t show.

When a famous-but-mysterious architect commissions her to decorate his mansion for a holiday event, Noelle finally returns to her hometown. Even as she finds an unexpected peace in facing ghosts from the past, her fiercely private client disturbs her. Michael Holliday is kind and considerate, but far too handsome…and hauntingly familiar.

Holliday didn’t choose Noelle to make his home a Christmas wonderland by accident. She’s the only one who can do the job he has in mind—and once she’s in his mansion, he never wants to let her go. But he’s hiding a secret that could destroy any chance of a relationship with the beautiful decorator.

A false persona. A shattering secret. Can love break down these insurmountable walls?


Excerpt:

With lunch and cleanup behind them, Noelle followed her mother from the kitchen into the living room.

A wide swath of pure silver streaked a section of the beautiful black hair Nancy Joy always wore with ultimate grace in a classic French twist. Despite that delicate bow to a departure from youth, her beauty was undeniable.

As if unable to keep from touching her daughter, she drew Noelle into a warm embrace. “It’s wonderful to have you back in Hope Springs, darling. This house hasn’t been quite ‘home’ without you.”

Noelle cleared her throat against a gargantuan lump. Since she’d walked through the door several hours earlier, she’d battled what promised to be a regular gully washer of tears.

So many memories lived within the walls of this house—mostly warm, wonderful ones that she’d deliberately buried over the past decade while keeping the events of that one dark day at the edge of her mind. Holding onto the pain kept the naïve, gullible girl she thought of now as “the first Noelle” from resurfacing. That girl would destroy the strong, successful woman Noelle had become.

She returned her mother’s hug. “It’s always good to see you and Dad, but being in Hope Springs is not easy.”

“I know, darling. I know.” Her mother reached up to brush a strand of hair almost the identical color of  her own off Noelle’s face. “But facing our monsters is the only way to shrink them down to proper size, which usually isn’t nearly as large as in our imaginations.”

Noelle rolled her eyes and emitted an indelicate snort. “This one was pretty big in reality, Mom. I’m not sure it can be shrunk any smaller by coming back home.”

Mom sighed. “I don’t mean to downplay what happened, sweetheart. No young woman should ever have to endure that kind of hurt and humiliation. But you didn’t let it destroy you. You’ve already beaten that particular boogeyman, so coming back here offers an opportunity to kick it to the curb, once and for all.”

“Fine, Mom.” No one ever won an argument with the Reverend Joy’s wife because she was almost always right, and Noelle didn’t feel up to giving it a shot today. She kissed her mother’s cheek, grabbed her purse off a small table in the entry, and reached for the doorknob. “I won’t be more than a few hours. Probably less, depending on this guy’s ability to make clear what he needs in a reasonable length of time.” She forced a strained smile. “Tell Dad I’ll expect those steaks to be grilled to perfection, like always.”

Mom’s laughter soothed the seeping wound in Noelle’s heart, scraped raw by her return to an old haunt. Her unchanged bedroom. The space still housed photo albums oozing pain from every page, stuffed animals with talon-clawed memories attached to their cutesy grins and cuddly bodies, even a closet full of clothes drenched in all-too-vivid images that messed with Noelle’s cool façade.

Probably a good thing Daddy had been unable to free himself from the annual board meeting at the church. Seeing her father would have weakened her to a degree beyond that already brought about by simply being in Hope Springs. She needed this break to meet with her client and look over the job. The familiar professionalism she wore like an armor would create a bit of balance, give her a better grip on her emotions.

Daddy’s voice had calmed her every fear as a child and bolstered her through the hormonal ups and downs of a young girl entering womanhood. Those soothing tones wouldn’t be as likely to undo her once she tucked a session of cool, calm, collected professionalism into the day.

Back in her car, she fed Holliday’s address information into the built-in GPS. The route took her a good distance further up the mountain and miles off the main route. Noelle hadn’t known the beautiful, secluded area existed, despite having lived so close for the first twenty-two years of her life.

She pulled to a stop at a pair of imposing gates fronted by a guard shack. To her surprise, her heart pounded with expectation. Her mind wouldn’t be quiet either, tossing out a horde of unanswered questions.

Was Holliday an older man, or was he young for his accomplishments? Was he handsome? Maybe he was hideous, like the fairy tale beast, and that’s why he maintained such a fiercely private existence. Was he kind, as seemed to be indicated by the media-inspired title? Or was that all hype? Perhaps the whole Phantom Philanthropist thing was a ruse to hide his real personality, which might be anything from a mouse to a monster.

A man’s voice crackled across the air. “Identification, please.”

Holliday should be expecting her. Why all the cloak-and-dagger? Well, his house, his rules. She dug out her driver’s license and the guard took it, his alert gaze darting back and forth, side to side, as if expecting an attack.

Noelle bit back a giggle when he broke from his fastidious survey of the surrounding countryside to peruse her license, seemingly line by line. What did he expect to find there?

At last, he returned her ID and gave a single, terse nod. “When I open the gates, follow the drive and park by the front steps. A valet will take your car.”

Sure enough, a uniformed valet met her at the base of a series of steps leading to massive oak doors that would have served well in any medieval castle. The man actually smiled as he took her keys. Having passed the intense scrutiny of the portly guard, it seemed she’d earned a bit more friendliness.

“Mr. Holliday will meet you at the door, Miss Joy.”

Potted plants lined each side of the wide steps— gorgeous bursts of azalea, bonsai-shaped miniature wisteria, hoya, plumeria, fuchsia, and a number of plants Noelle didn’t recognize and was almost certain shouldn’t survive the cold of the Northern California mountains. Holliday must have a sizeable greenhouse.

The door opened as she reached the top step. A man stepped outside but seemed reluctant to venture beyond the shade of the overhang. He towered well over Noelle’s five feet, nine inches. Muscles strained at the cloth of his sleeves and across his chest.

“Good afternoon, Miss Joy.”

Something caught in Noelle’s heart, and she swallowed repeatedly. Had she heard that voice before? Why did it make her want to cry…or maybe scream and throw rocks through the beautiful stained glass windows that fronted the huge estate?

She allowed her gaze to travel beyond the broad chest to a firm, square chin, and upward. Nicely shaped lips curved into a smile that seemed a little shaky around the edges and revealed perfect white teeth. A straight nose, not too long, or too short. High cheekbones.

For some reason, she avoided his eyes, instead moving on to take in slightly longish, golden-brown hair with a smidgen of gray at the temples.

“Miss Joy?” A hint of concern tinged the oddly familiar voice.

Noelle swallowed again and forced her cowardly gaze to his, only to be caught in a dizzying vortex of confusion and familiarity. I know this man. I’ve met him before. Where? She stood up straighter, hiked her chin, and mentally donned the ice cloak that had stood her in good stead over the course of her career. Holliday wasn’t the only one with a media-dubbed moniker. She had one of her own, and the Ice Princess of Design wouldn’t be put off by a furrowed brow and a tense expression. “Mr. Holliday. I’d like to get started right away, if you don’t mind.”

Forced to meet his gaze—his eyes were hazel, but somehow she’d known they would be—she saw a flicker of something that made her breath a little shallow. She was way off her game. Was it because those eyes held a strange familiarity?

“Of course. Come in, please.”

He indicated she should precede him into the house…no, the mansion. “House” didn’t even begin to describe the residence. Noelle had seen a great number of multi-million-dollar homes in her line of work but nothing that compared to the one in which she now stood.

“This is…quite lovely.” She was careful to maintain the chill in her tone. “Professional distance at all times” was the mantra by which she’d lived for the past decade. It had served her well. No need to change it now, just because something about Michael Holliday made her skin tingle and sky-rocketed her heartbeat. “If anything needs improvement, it’s well hidden.”

His low laughter sent something almost unbearably electric skittering up her spine. “It isn’t improvement I’m looking for, Miss Joy. It’s a mood, a certain look…an ambiance, if you will. And since my event will be held on Christmas Eve, it must be themed very specifically around that holiday.”

She nodded, despite the rock of dread that landed in her stomach with a thump. Up until now, the only Christmas event she’d ever created had been her doomed wedding a decade earlier. After that, she never again celebrated the holiday she’d once loved most. She refused to have a tree in her home and never sent a Merry Christmas card to a single soul. Stockings, mistletoe, and hot apple cider—things she’d once loved—were now just unavoidable traditions she muddled through every year while counting down the hours until the bells stopped jingling, the carolers’ songs died away, and her favorite radio station started playing real music again.

Joy Designs absolutely never, ever, ever accepted a design job with a Christmas theme. She opened her mouth to tell Michael exactly that but remembered just in time that she’d already signed the contract, without checking into the specifics of what Holliday needed or for what occasion. She uttered a pathetic inner moan. Christmas. She’d signed a legal contract saying she and her team would create a holiday environment somewhere in this castle-sized home.

Noelle steeled her spine and pasted on a smile she was certain didn’t fool the handsome architect for even a split second. Well, the contract had not included a clause that said her smiles had to be genuine. Then again, she hadn’t realized it mentioned anything about a Christmas event either, because she barely noticed anything other than Holliday’s name. She knew better than that. Now she had no choice but to design a winter wonderland in this massive mansion.

Bah Humbug.

My review:
How do you spell squeeeee? Is it even a word? Well it is now. This is one of those books which pulls you in and swallows you whole. I'd guessed part of the story, but not the twist which came with it. Needless to say this is another fantastic read from the pen of Ms. Latham. Definately one to be read over and over again.


What I love most about Christmas:

Besides the overwhelming commercialism, there's not a lot I don't love about Christmas. The beautiful decorations, the bright, cheery lights, the excited smiles on the faces of happy children...and, of course, the fattening food that's absolutely everywhere and impossible to resist! But my favorite slice of Christmas is that it softens people, makes them kinder and nicer and more like we all should be every day of the year toward one another. The spirit of CHRISTmas...that's what it's all about.

Buy Link

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

It's almost December....

 
Advent calendar made by me several years ago

It's almost December and that means it's time for the annual Christmas Extravaganza from lots of authors. Over the next three weeks or so, finishing on Christmas Eve, I'll be highlighting one book a day, some of which I've had the privilege of reading advance copies, some I haven't, but will have read other stuff by those authors.

Each post will contain buy links, if the extracts and blurbs appeal to you.

So we have....

1 - Delia Latham
2 - Marianne Evans
3 - Marilyn Leech
4- LoRee Peery
5- Katie Clark
6 - Pamela Thibodeaux
7 - Dora Hiers
8 - me
9 - Mary Manners
10 - Mallary Mitchell
11 - Lucette Nel
12 - Jan Elder
13 - Jan Elder
14 - Robin Bayne
15 - Terri Weldon
16 - Marian P. Merritt
17 - Tanya Hanson
18 - Lucy Naylor Kubash
19 - Mary Alford
20 - me
21 - Nicola Martinez
22 - 
23 - 
24 - Michael Duncan

Okay, so I now have to turn on the carols, fill the advent calendar, and hang the decorations... oh and schedule posts for the next 3 weeks.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Kisses, Kids and Bundles of Joy: 7 Christian Winter Romances


Kisses, Kids and Bundles of Joy: 7 Christian Winter Romances
Box Set Blurb

Snuggle up with seven brand new, never before published Christian winter romances from bestselling and award-winning authors. Kisses and kids abound in this collection of novellas that will warm your heart all winter long. 

One Winter Kiss - Lindi Peterson - Deena Ross travels to Ohio to try and sway her grandfather from making a big mistake, a mistake his neighbor Andrew has been encouraging. When a winter storm hits, and Deena is forced to stay with Andrew and his young son, Evan, Deena's vision of love is tested and she might lose her heart in one winter kiss. 

Childish Ways - Jenn Faulk - Kevin Peterson, a teacher at a small town elementary school, is unexpectedly reunited with Lisa Walker, a girl who spent most of their childhood tormenting and bullying him, when she comes back to town where she helps organize a winter carnival to benefit her niece's school. Lisa has no idea who he is, though, and as they work alongside one another and Kevin sees how much she has changed, he begins to question whether or not he can really trust her and let her into his life. 

The Baby & the Bachelor - Cindy K. Green - Playboy bachelor, Alec, discovers a baby on his doorstep only days away from being appointed to a political office, prompting him to appeal his assistant, Jane, for help. Misunderstandings and accusations from the press abound, leading Alec to wonder, even if he were prepared for a ready-made family, could sweet, church-going Jane ever find it in her heart to marry a sinner like him? 

For Tracy - Trisha Grace - One phone call led to Sarah Carter becoming the guardian of her favorite student, Tracy, while waiting for Tracy’s Uncle Keith to show up. But Sarah has no idea Uncle Keith was Keith Sutton, Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor, and doesn’t realize how much trouble she is heading for. 

Tropical Kiss Or Miss - Liwen Y. Ho - Therapist Olivia Chan can’t wait to escape it all—a failed marriage, a struggling practice, and her son’s recent health scare. The Hawaiian getaway she planned, however, gets rained on—quite literally—by a tropical storm and the unexpected arrival of her estranged husband Matthew, who’s determined to win her back. 

To Gain a Mommy - Tanya Eavenson - When Hope Michaels decides to face her past, she unknowingly purchases the house across the street from her former fiancé—the man her twin sister married, then widowed. Fire Captain Carl McGuire can put out any flame, except for the one Hope sparks within him—some things never change. 

Foolish Heart - Cindy Flores Martinez - Judy and Graham have feelings for each other, but they won’t admit it. After all, she lives in America and he lives in Scotland with his daughter, Mairi, who he could never leave to be with the woman he loves. 

Review:
Normally when I read a box set I end up with a story I really love, one I’m not that keen on or don’t finish reading. This one is an exception. It contains 7 amazing stories that made me smile, laugh and cry. One even got a cheer at the ending. Definitely a set to curl up with as the winter nights get colder and longer.


Purchase Links




1) How does your faith play into your writing?

Trisha Grace: Jesus loves you regardless of who you are or what you’ve done. That’s the message behind my books. I’m blessed to be planted in a church where my pastor preaches the grace message, reminding me each week that I’m loved and blessed despite of my flaws and sins. And that’s the same message I hope my readers will get when they read my book.

2) Why do you write the kind of books you do?

Jenn Faulk: I write Christian chick lit and romance, and my intention with every book is to point readers to Christ and His sufficiency. I think there’s great biblical truth that can be communicated through a love story about two normal, believable, imperfect people who need and find redemption in Christ as they deal with relationships and real life issues. It’s my hope that someone would read my book and enjoy the story while they’re also being encouraged and challenged to know Christ better, love Him more deeply, and serve Him more fully.

3) What advice would you give to a beginning writer?

Liwen Y. Ho: Writing is a solitary exercise, but it should not be done alone! For beginning writers, I’d recommend joining a writer’s group, whether online or in person. The best thing you can do is to share your work with other writers and get their feedback. And read, read, read! Read books in the genre(s) you want to write and discover what you like/dislike about certain stories. Read about writing techniques and how to create characters that come to life and how to keep a story flowing from beginning to end. Then do what you love to do the most—write! And don’t forget to have fun while doing it!

4) What’s on your reading list?

Lindi Peterson: My reading list lately has been amazing. Over the summer I read Rita winner Kristi Ann Hunter’s A Noble Masquerade. Awesome book. Then I read The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. I couldn’t put this book down. Three different generations whose stories intertwined. Loved it. I read a cool short story, A Spoonful of Spice by Liwen Ho. Right now I’m reading The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry, one of my favorite authors. I have so many books on my TRB pile. What a good problem to have, right?


5) How do you celebrate the release of a new story?

Tanya Eavenson: Growing up my parents would celebrate special occasions by taking the family out to Red Lobster. Fast forward twenty years, my wonderful husband takes me out to celebrate a new release. Can you guess where? Yep! Red Lobster. Love that man!

6) What do you like to snack on while writing a story?

Cindy Flores Martinez: I love this question because I can just picture it in my mind, casually reaching over and grabbing a snack while writing. I’m sure every writer would tell you that there isn’t time to stop when you’re in the middle of writing, especially if you’re working on an important scene. Sometimes I find myself feeling weak because I’ve skipped a meal. And just in case that happens, I always have fruit or a granola bar nearby that I can reach for. But that’s only if I am absolutely about to lose consciousness.

7) What type of research do you enjoy doing for your stories?

Cindy K. Green: I love research! I’m a trained historian so research is exciting to me. In fact, when I am stuck on a project whether plot or otherwise, research is one of the best ways to get out of a bit of writer’s block or it just inspires me to write period. I write both contemporary and historical novels. Of course, every story includes some research. I had to research golf & golf courses, as well as, how a company goes through the process of going public for one contemporary novel. But the historical ones are the ones I love to research most. I’ve been working on a historical western series for the last few years. It has been such a joy learning more about old Carson City, Nevada; the 1870’s clothing and hats; and everything else relating to the period of the booming silver mines in the area of the Comstock Lode. My father lives in that area, and he is a terrific resource for background information.

Would You Rather

1) Would you rather drink coffee or tea?

Cindy K. Green: This is an easy one for me. I am a total tea drinker. (In fact, I am one of those odd ones who actually hates coffee!) If you came to my house, I would have a myriad of different types of teas to choose from, and I would serve it to you in a proper cup and saucer (no mugs please). My favorite is green tea with a bend of acai and blueberry.

2) Would you rather live on the east coast or on the west coast of the US?

Lindi Peterson: I love this question because I’m on the east coast, in Georgia, while my brother and his family live in Seattle, the city I call my favorite city in America. I’ve spent a few weeks in Seattle over the years, but never for an extended period of time. If you’ve never been you must go! The green is different in Seattle. It’s hard to explain, but it’s how I see it. The city itself is amazing, Lake Washington and the surrounding area is beautiful. Seattle is my west coast experience and I’ve said for years if the rest of my family would move there with me I’d go in a heartbeat. But they won’t, and I’m kind of partial to living with my husband, so I’m staying on the east coast. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful here, too. We have coastline and mountains within a short driving distance. So my east coast body wants to live on the west coast, but that may simply be a case of the grass is always greener on the other side. (No pun intended on the green thing!)

3) Would you rather have a castle in Scotland or a countryside villa in Italy?

Trisha Grace: This is a tough one! I love historical romance, so a castle in Scotland would be a dream come true. But I have a soft spot for Italy, too. It’s a beautiful country, and I went there for my honeymoon. If I really have to choose, I’ll rather have a . . . castle in Scotland. As beautiful as a countryside villa in lovely Italy would be, I’ve never been to Scotland. For a city girl, a castle is something I’ve only ever seen in movies and pictures. So yeah, castle in Scotland it is!

4) Would you rather watch a football game or baseball game?

Jenn Faulk: Honestly, I would much prefer to watch a basketball game over football or baseball either one! But if given a choice between the two in this question, I would pick football, mainly because baseball moves sooooo slowly. I went to a MLB game with my husband a couple of months ago (he got me there by promising me a lot of trips to the concession stand), and we made it all the way to the fifth inning with NO home runs! I told him, “If this was an NBA game, we’d be up seventy points by now.” (See why I prefer basketball?) Football is the same! I like seeing action on the field, not everyone just standing around, ha ha!

5) Would you rather vacation on the beach or in the mountains?

Cindy Flores Martinez: I’m fortunate to live close enough to the beach and the mountains that I can visit both places. But if I had to choose only one of them to vacation at, it would have to be the beach. Although the mountains are beautiful, there’s just something about being by the ocean that’s much more exhilarating for me. I also find that the mountains are a bit more isolated compared to most beach towns, which is awkward for this suburb girl who is used to being around a lot of people.

6) Would you rather go horseback riding or whitewater rafting?

Tanya Eavenson: I love horses so horseback riding for sure! My husband and kids are another story. They go whitewater rafting every year in Georgia. I rather stay dry! =)

7) Would you rather live in Hawaii or Alaska?

Liwen Y. Ho: Definitely, without a doubt, in a heartbeat—Hawaii! I am a beach girl and the beaches of Hawaii are breathtakingly beautiful. I love Hawaii so much that I made the island of Oahu the setting for my story, Tropical Kiss Or Miss. I wouldn’t mind visiting Alaska though; I have an aunt who’s lived there for over thirty years.

Finding Sarah, Finding Me by Christine Lindsay



Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.
Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.
Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up...and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.
Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.

BIO
Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction with complex emotional and psychological truth, who always promises a happy ending. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and explosive finale Veiled at Midnight.
Christine’s Irish wit and use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary and historical romances Londonderry Dreaming and Sofi’s Bridge.
A busy writer and speaker, Christine, and her husband live on the west coast of Canada, and she has just released her non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.
Please drop by Christine’s website www.ChristineLindsay.org or follow her on Amazon on Twitter. Subscribe to her quarterly newsletter, and be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook, and Goodreads
Short Excerpt
Foreword to Finding Sarah Finding Me

In the years between, after relinquishing Sarah at three days old and before our reunion many years later, if I just happen to attend a women’s conference or a ladies’ church function around her birthday, and as happens so often, the organizers of the event just happen to hand out carnations at the door…and as they randomly give out a variety of colors to the ladies leaving…as I inch my way slowly toward the exit in a long lineup of women, I watch with mounting expectation.
The flowers arrive every year around her birthday, those silly blooms that started on the day I got out of the hospital. Sometimes just a card with flowers on it, and always from someone who has no clue what February 24th means to me. Sometimes a friend might send a potted plant—always pink—just because they’re thinking of me.
So as I shuffle forward in each lineup at any ladies’ function I happen to attend, while the last strains of the last song float over the venue, and as the women in front of me smile and with thanks receive their red carnation—or yellow or white—as a gift for coming, without ever asking, mine is always, always pink.
I lift my bloom to my face and breathe in the sweetness. Yes, Lord, you want me to find Sarah.

Read Chapter One of Finding Sarah Finding Me: Click HERE

Purchase links:
Amazon (Paperback and Kindle)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Bells on Her Toes - Delia Latham

Nestled into five beautiful acres just outside Hope Creek, Tennessee, Christmas Inn is an unforgettable place known for its joyful atmosphere and festive setting. Holiday decorations adorn each room. Trees glittering with ribbons and ornaments, gorgeous wreaths, velvet stockings and pine-scented candles brighten visitors’ stay at this vacation spot dedicated to Christmas all year, every year. The resort offers all the usual enticements plus one unique amenity…love. The little white chapel behind the inn, built by the Christmas family in the 1890s, boasts bell tower bells that toll when couples fall in love.
But Christmas Inn has fallen on hard times. The chapel bells haven’t rang for many years, and this Christmas may be the final celebration at the resort…unless love finds its way home.


Book 4



Blurb:
As part of an elaborate birthday gift from her sister, Karynn Michaels gets a pedicure that includes a pretty bell on each toe and a promidiction—part promise, part prediction—for each of the next ten days. Quiet, sensible Karynn finds the whole thing ridiculous. But it’s just for fun and she is, after all, on vacation at Christmas Inn, where bells are legendary.

The same day, she comes face to face with Daniel Sheridan—the male standard by which she’s measured, and found lacking, every man she’s dated since he moved away during their senior year of high school. Is it mere coincidence that her first promidiction hints at a reunion with someone from her past?

A widower, Daniel is at the Hope Creek, Tennessee resort with his adorable little girl and her less-than-agreeable nanny, who’s unpleasant to everyone—except her handsome boss. Karynn refuses to hope for a rekindled romance, but her old flame has lost none of his irresistible high school charm. She should have stayed at home in Quillpoint. She was doing just fine without bells on her toes, a jealous nanny, and a sapphire-eyed airline pilot who might fly away with her heart…again.



Excerpt:
“We’re early.” Karynn Michaels glanced at her cell phone screen. “By a whole two hours. How could we have over-estimated driving time by that much?”
“We didn’t.” Her sister swung her luxury sedan into a small shopping center a few blocks from their destination and slid smoothly into a parking slot. She shot Karynn an impish grin and opened her door. “I got us here early so you could get a head start on unwrapping your gift.”
“Savannah!” She climbed out, and then stood for a second, listening for the beep that assured her the doors were locked. “What are you up to now?”
Her gaze swept the storefronts lined up side by side. The little strip mall boasted only a half dozen or so businesses. Which of them was her sister all set to dash into and lay down more money?
Savannah could afford to spend lavishly, now that she’d married Dr. Darren Quinn, brain surgeon extraordinaire. Karynn rejoiced in the couple’s happiness, and was thrilled for her sister—who grew up right along with her in the school of hard knocks, hard work and staying hard at it to keep the wolves from the door.
Still, despite her genuine joy in Savannah’s happiness and financial security, she cringed when the younger woman tossed money around like game board cash. This trip to Hope Creek, for instance. Why couldn’t her sister be like everyone else and just wrap up a bathrobe or a good book for her birthday? But no…nothing would do but to bring Karynn here—several hours from their hometown of Quillpoint—for a ten-day vacation at Christmas Inn. They’d be in Hope Creek all the way through Karynn’s birthday on December 25th. Darren would join them on Christmas Eve.
She didn’t dare think about the fact that Hearth & Home, the bed and breakfast that was her livelihood, would be closed for two entire weeks. She’d manage the loss of income by cutting corners for a while. Growing up poor taught a person how to live on less than most people thought possible.
Savannah rounded the hood of the car and pulled her into a tight hug. “Sis, just let me do this for you. Please? Darren wants me to. He gave me specific instructions to pull out all the stops and show you the time of your life.” She batted her long lashes like a preening prima donna. “He said he owes you for taking such awesome care of his ‘Precious’ until he could take over.”
They both burst out laughing, despite the truth of the exaggerated presentation. Dr. Quinn adored his wife and always referred to her as ‘my Precious,’ never mind the negative connotations brought about in recent years by a popular book-turned-movie. Unlike Karynn, Darren didn’t waste time and effort trying to please everyone.
Savannah grabbed her hand and tugged her along as she stepped out of the parking slot and up onto a wide sidewalk. “Seriously, Karynn, my husband thinks you’re pretty special, and he’s right. You are. So this year, we want to pamper you for your birthday. Will you just let us do that without fretting the entire time?”
“Oh, sweetie…I promise to try, but you know how I am.” Karynn heaved a hopeless sigh. “If life were to roll along without a single kink in the works, I’d fret because there’s nothing to fret about.”
“Well, then I’ll consider it my job to foil your frets. See this?” Savannah whirled in a circle and pivoted to a stop directly in front of Karynn, who came close to barreling into her.
“Vanna!” She brushed off her sweater, which didn’t need brushing. Still, it made her feel better to administer a stinging slap to something.
“Sorry, Sis. But look at me.” Savannah tilted her head forward, raised one perfect eyebrow and dipped the other one. “When you see me do this, you’ll know you’re being an old fuddy-duddy fretter.”
“What are you, eight years old?” Karynn tried to give her sister a stern look, but when Savannah only repeated the ‘fuddy-duddy’ alert, she burst out laughing instead. “Fine. I will try to behave more like my crazy, lighthearted, totally irresponsible little sister. Now, will you stop doing that?” She cast a furtive glance around. “People will think you’re strange.”
“Uh-uh…that’s fretting!” Still, Savannah stopped rolling her eyes, linked arms with Karynn and they were on the move again. “Anyway, I am strange.”
“Well, you got that right.” Karynn giggled, and then blinked. Twice. Giggling? Really? Now who’s the eight-year-old?
“This is it!” Savannah trilled. “We’re here.”
Karynn read the sign on the window and suppressed a sigh.
Nail It.
“I take it we’re getting manicures?”

“And pedicures—a double-digits treat. And we’re right on time for our appointment.” She opened the door, enacted an exaggerated bow, and waved Karynn inside with a flourish. “After you, birthday girl!”



My review:
I love the idea of promidictions and the way they've been woven into this charming story. Karynn and Daniel have a past and a present that could very well impact any future they could have. Not to mention a totally adorable child who takes to Karynn immediately.
This was a lovely story to curl up with on a bitterly cold day.


AMAZON US      AMAZON UK

Character Interview.

1. Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
My name is Karynn Michaels. I’m a few years shy of 30, and I own a bed and breakfast called Hearth & Home. I’m not the most exciting person in the world. I mean, seriously…I’m the official maid, doorkeeper and billing manager for a revolving cast of strangers—not that I’m complaining. I inherited Hearth & Home when my aunt passed away, and having that source of income allowed me to become my sister’s legal guardian when we lost our parents in a plane crash. God had that path all smoothed out for us before we ever knew we’d need to walk it, and I’m so, so grateful!
Oh, I’m not married. Working 24/7 doesn’t offer lots of opportunity to meet people, but I have to be honest—that’s not why I don’t have a husband. My single status probably has more to do with a young man I knew in high school, and a box of memories stashed on a shelf in my closet…
2. Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
I’ve lived my whole life in Quillpoint, Tennessee. It’s where my parents lived, and their parents too. This town’s a Michaels family tradition. It’s not big—population’s around 19,000. Nevertheless, we are proud to be “The Sharpest Little City in the Country.” Pretty pointed play on the word, wouldn’t you say?
3. What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?
I’m a fretter. If life rolled along without a single kink in the works, I’d fret because there’s nothing to fret about. But I manage to hide it most of the time, and most folks just think I’m shy (which I am) and withdrawn (which isn’t true, and I don’t like that label!). Savannah knows I fret , and refuses to allow it when she’s around. My high school boyfriend knew too…and he figured out pretty fast that if I’m having fun, I don’t remember to fret. But then, that was a lifetime ago. I’m not even sure why I mentioned it.

4. Name two things you would hate people to know about you?
You want me to tell everyone two things I don’t want them to know. Hmm…odd question. But I’m answering it, and that’s got to be odder than odd. Two things, then.
1.       I did mention that box in my closet, right?
2.       I’d gladly hitchhike all the way across the country and back to keep from boarding a plane. And the thought of anyone I love going up in one of those metal monsters…well, let’s just say it’s the stuff my nightmares are made of. (Shudder!)
5. Tell us about your special lady/bloke. What makes her/him special? 
I did mention that I’m not married, right? I’m not involved with anyone either, but it’s OK. I can always rock my sister’s as-yet-unborn babies and be the doting spinster aunt. My only serious boyfriend was Daniel. That was a lifetime ago, but I’ll talk about what made him special.
He was handsome, sweet, gentle…all that, despite being a “star” quarterback and one of the most popular boys in the school. We spent every waking moment together. We laughed at everything and nothing, talked incessantly, and just…really loved each other. His family moved away during our senior year, and we tried to stay in touch, but eventually we lost contact. Long-distance relationships….they seldom work out, even when the two parties are adults. Daniel and I were teenagers, and that teary goodbye on the bleachers at Quillpoint High was the beginning of the end for us.
My sister says I’m not hard to look at (Hehehe!), and I’ve given the romance thing a shot with a guy or two since high school, but they all lacked that certain something. You know…? Savannah says the missing element was that none of them were Daniel. She’s an incurable romantic.
6. The first time you saw her/him, what did you think? Did you like her/him immediately, or did she/he have to grow on you?
7. What would he/she hate people to know about her?
8. What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?
I’m a coffee lover, and I like to experiment with different flavors. Peppermint coffee’s my current favorite, but I still love a great cup of hot chocolate too. And food…oh my, I love the stuff. I’ll try any dish once, and if it isn’t love at first bite, well…I’m a good sport. I’ll give it a second try…or third, or… (lol!) Good thing I make a dozen trips up and down two flights of stairs every day. Gives those calories a run for their money.
9. If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
Can it be a word battle, please?
10. Pepsi or coke
Bite your tongue! Dr. Pepper.
11. tea or coffee
12. elephant or tiger
13. roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)
14. classical music or pop
Country isn’t a choice? Now there’s something to fret about!
15. sunrise or sunset
If I didn’t have to get up early to lay out the Continental breakfast for my guests, I’d never see a sunrise.  I’ve learned to love them, but I have to admit I still favor a gorgeous sunset.
16. chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)
Chocolate. Is that a trick question?
17. What would you like on your epitaph?
He really rang her bell. (Let people guess what it means, right?)

Clare, thank you so much! I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. If you’re ever in Quillpoint, Tennessee, please do look me up at Hearth & Home. I promise not to fret while you’re there—we’ll be having too much fun!