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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Otto's Offer Tour and Review






In 1868, Otto Atwell has a 160 acre homestead near Abilene, Kansas and a limp as a result of a Cheyenne musket ball hitting his low back while he marched with the 16th Kansas Cavalry on the Powder River Expedition in 1865. What he doesn’t have is a wife. Then again, what woman would want to marry a cripple?

Libby Jones comes to Junction City as a mail order bride. Not only does the man who sent for her reject her, he tries to sell her to the local brothel to recoup his fee. Otto offers to marry her, but she rejects him in favor of a job with his relatives.

Will Otto’s offer still stand when trouble from Libby’s past catches up with her?   

      

Otto’s Offer is a stand-alone book in the Lockets & Lace series sponsored by some authors of the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog. 

While they last, an ebook version of the series prequel, The Bavarian Jeweler, is available from the blog without charge.





I have finished this book now and I'm so excited to share my review with everyone!  This book was well written and engaging. The author lets us understand the situation and was able to even take us back into the history without losing us in the process. It was actually a very quick read as it takes you through the story and the situation. You feel for the characters and cheer them on too. This book does touch on a few hard topics that send a bit of a chill down your spine, but it is never descriptive or unclean, just the pain of knowing that someone had to go through something so miserable. And the bad guy was well written and made me look over my shoulder a few times (I was reading this out on a hike, so in the open I admit I looked around a few time) which made it seem so real, which really is the mark of good story writing. Overall I say well done - very well done!

Excerpt:

After it was all over and the dust began to settle, Otto decided the Atwell-
Palmer group driving cattle into his property was a sight to behold. He
had put his few cattle in his corral with feed and water and left the
pastureland next to the small creek open for whatever his visitors were
driving. Henry had cleaned and prepared stalls for a few extra horses,
but Otto knew the rest would need to be hobbled. Because he couldn’t sit
a horse for long, he didn’t know if he would be expected to help keep an
eye on the herd that night, or if his father and uncle had made other
arrangements. All he knew was, his barn, corral and pasture looked
full—how like he would eventually like it to be all the time with his own
cattle.
Mary Palmer had answered both Otto’s and Henry’s prayers. As
soon as she climbed down from the wagon she had been traveling in
while their neighbor, Shorty Sanders, drove, she headed for the kitchen
and started frying up potatoes and some ham she had brought to go with

the beans Otto had cooking. She also made biscuits, which pleased
everyone.
Henry especially felt gratified when Mary pointed to the loaf of
bread she had brought in the house.
“I have bread I baked for when we’re on the trail. But your Mama
sent that one for you, Henry. She says she misses you and will be happy
to see you home again. Now, you hide it in a cupboard, or it won’t last
until we leave.”
Henry smiled wide as he found a clean dishtowel to wrap around
his bread. “Thank you, Grandma Mary. Otto’s no baker, so it’s either
been hardtack or mush the last few weeks. You bet I’ll keep it hidden.”
“You’re welcome, Henry.”
Otto inhaled deeply as he entered the kitchen. “That ham and
fixings certainly smells good, Mrs. Palmer. It will be a pleasant break
from my usual fare.”
“Then maybe you ought to get you a fat sow about ready to pop out
a bunch of piglets instead of those chickens you plan on getting. I’d
druther take care of pigs than chickens any day.”
Otto scowled at his younger brother, who had made the suggestion.
“All in good time, Henry. Right now, eggs and an occasional chicken in
the pot will do me more good than a pig to be kept fed. Besides, we
already got the chicken coop built. I’d have to build a sturdy pen first
before I can consider getting a sow and a boar. you’ll be going home with
Pa once we get back, so it shouldn’t make much difference to you.”
Henry glanced at Mary’s face with her grin and a knowing twinkle
in her eye. He knew to not make a big issue of the matter, but he couldn’t
resist mumbling the last word on the subject. “Well, you just make sure
when you bring back those chickens, you bring back a wife to chase them
down and take care of them. I still want nothing to do with anything
having feathers and beaks.”
“What’s this about a wife?”
Otto shook his head, avoiding Mary’s probing gaze. “Nothing.
Henry is just being his usual ornery self.”




My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen I use for my historical novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and I just joined Western Writers of America. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”

I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.


I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.


Connect with the Author here: 

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Saturday, February 10, 2018

12 days of Clean Romance - Day 12









Her most recent accomplishment started in the summer of 2015. Making her dad’s dream come true with publishing his works as well, as an emotional accomplishment. She is the 2016 local A.N.W.A. chapter (Snake River Writers) president, won NaNoWriMo and loves StoryMakers.
            Teya has been writing for as long as she can remember. At a young age she lived on a street she affectionately named Hill Street Blues, which helped her creative writing. Her Family moved to Menan where she continued her love of writing. Her father would always be and will continue to be her inspiration, even after his untimely death in 2006.
            She loves sitting in her soft chair next to the fireplace and watching out a big living room window. It gives her plenty of creative juice for stories.
            She met the love of her life in the loft of a barn. Yep, that set up some teasing from her father. They have been happily married since 2003. They have four children and all are loving and supportive of her writing.  Her oldest daughter is following in her footsteps as a writer adding her own illustrations. She refuses to comment on the trolls in the closets and under the beds. She is active in her church, has compassion for others, and a love for all life brings.



Connect with the Author here: 



One wrong step changes Jocelyn’s Prima Ballerina’s life in one step...



A single choice results in Jeremiah facing unbearable consequences...



When these two meet, it could be catastrophic or the answer to unspoken prayers.

Can love be tested too far? Will hearts soften and hurts be forgiven?

Or will too much loss be too devastating to find hope?


One thing is for sure, lives are about to change forever…









Q&A With The Author:

1-   Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction besides writing?
a.   I enjoy being with my family, hiking, and getting out into nature and being physical with the world around me.

2-   What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
a.   I do not have the word "struggle" in my vocabulary. It stops anything positive. We have a phrase in our home that derives from a favorite movie series, it is, "do, or do not, there is no try."

3-   What are your future projects?
a.   Future projects: Death by the slice- a romance thriller, Shadow movers- a trilogy, a couple "unknown titles" at this time, The wife (title unsecured)- suspense thriller, and a couple books of short stories.

4-   What is the “message” of your writing?
a.   a message in my books, hmm. I think learning about oneself. Each one has something to think about and you see yourself how you need to change.

5-   Are your characters/stories/scenes, etc. based on anything in real life?
a.   Are my character/ stories/scenes based on real life? YES!

6-   Have you done anything writing-related, besides actually writing your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?

a.   I speak to elementary kids about writing. It's pure joy to me to watch there faces light up and be excited about the story wanting to break free from each one of them.



To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Friday, February 9, 2018

12 Days of Clean Romance - Day 11






When she was in Paris, Kimberley Montpetit spent most of her souvenir money at the La Patisserie shops with their beautiful and delicious pastries. She grew up in the fabulous city of San Francisco, loves all things chocolate, and now lives in a small town along the Rio Grande with her engineer husband and three sons.

She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland and didn't sleep a wink, sailed the Seine in Paris, rode a camel in the ancient world wonder of Petra, shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

Kimberley also writes Award-winning Middle-Grade novels with Scholastic and Young Adult novels with Harpercollins under the name, Kimberley Griffiths Little.


Connect with the Author here:
~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~
~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

Receive a free book when you sign up for the Newsletter
~ Newsletter ~





A makeup artist for the Phantom of the Opera with a tragic past. A mysterious man hiding a scar worse than the phantom from the Broadway show.



Linden Adair is a talented makeup artist on the New York Broadway show, Phantom of the Opera, creating the hideous scar for the actor who plays the phantom every night. But nobody knows the deep scars Linden carries after the divorce from her husband, Mark Denly—the famous director of Phantom.



Why didn’t somebody ever tell her that marrying your director was a bad idea, especially when he has a wandering eye?


Desperate to get away after enduring several years of heartache and scars, Linden takes a cross-country trip to visit her best friend in Seattle. While driving on a deserted stretch of highway late at night, she hits a deer and crashes the rental car into a gully outside of Snow Valley, Montana.

A devastatingly handsome stranger with a tow truck rescues Linden and her smashed vehicle, but when she catches sight of him in the light, she’s shocked. Anton Baldwin possess a terrible scar on his face—just like the phantom she created every night for the theater.

But Anton is hiding more than the truth behind his scar, and during a whirlwind week while being recruited for a television show being filmed in Snow Valley, the secrets of this enigmatic man turn her world upside down. 

When Anton helps Linden open up to the world around her, Linden wonders if the small town of Snow Valley might hold the magic she needs to heal the scars on her broken heart.

If you like sweet romance and second chance love stories, then you’ll love THE SECRET OF A KISS, A Snow Valley Romance. 






~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK




Q&A With The Author:

1.   Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction besides writing?

It’s easy to be a workaholic in this business and your mind is always going, going with ideas and deadlines so to relax I have to leave my workspace completely. My kiddos are super fun and funny. We love to snuggle, make cookies, read books, go to the movies, go out to eat on the weekend, tell jokes, and can’t wait for family reunions with cousins far away at the beach or in the mountains. I also love having lunch with writer friends, or attending writer retreats.


2.   What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?

The biggest thing I struggle with is to actually get writing for the day. Inertia* is the HARDEST THING TO OVERCOME – IT IS EVIL! Of course, every day 10 new things come up that have to be done right away, or someone calls with a new crisis. Can I please have just ONE DAY where there are no appointments, broken cars, errands, appliances that need fixing, dental appts, shopping, bills to pay, or emergencies, and I can JUST WRITE ALL DAY LONG. It has yet to happen . . . I guess it’s called life!
*Inertia: Overcoming the terror of opening the Word document and begin typing actual words


3.   What are your future projects?

After my trilogy with Harpercollins was completed in 2017, I’m focusing on my sweet adult romance. My Secret Billionaire Romance series has been hugely popular and I have plans for at least two more titles this year. I’m also excited about a secret project I’m doing with Heather Moore Brown that will launch this summer. Gothic Romance! It’s going to be super fun, super awesome, and super romantic!


4.   What is the “message” of your writing? 

I love writing clean romance about couples overcoming life’s struggles and griefs. Stories that inspire and uplift while delivering a heart-pounding adventure and swoony romance. It inspires me to know that I can push back against the raw and often insane world we live in and flood reader’s Kindles with good entertainment that people are craving. 😊


5.   Are your characters/stories/scenes, etc. based on anything in real life?

All writers draw from personal experience with loss, disappointment, love, discouragement, and self-doubt. I like writing about characters who are often braver and more courageous than I am when they take their life by the reins and plow full-steam ahead to create the life they dream about.


6.   Have you done anything writing-related, besides actually writing your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?

I do a hands-on writing workshop called The Creative Diary that has turned out incredibly successful in schools. In only one hour using my Imagination Box and vivid story imagery, the students have written two complete stories. After leading them part-way through a story that they have to finish, the kids gasp with excitement and begin writing like crazy. It’s awesome to see their enthusiasm and how much they write in just ten minutes at a time – sometimes 2 whole pages! When I invite a few to come up and read their story aloud, I’m always impressed with how terrific and imaginative their stories are.





To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Thursday, February 8, 2018

12 days of Clean Romance - Day 10





An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. She writes stories about love, lies, secrets and sometimes spies, and she helps writers craft their fiction to make their stories and their prose more engaging. 

All four of the novels in her Spy Another Day series were named finalists in the Whitney Awards, a juried prize. Spy by Night is a prequel to the other novels in the series.


Connect with the Author here: 


"After watching her parents’ marriage crash and burn, CIA operative Talia Reynolds doesn’t believe in “happily ever afters.” Besides, her job entails eighty-hour weeks, juggling a dozen covers and disguises, and tracking down a dangerous Russian spy ring. She hardly has time for romantic entanglements, even if she could let her guard down enough to get close to anyone. But all the rules she lives by could be broken when she meets aerospace engineer Danny Fluker.

Danny moved to Canada for a great job — and a chance to start over after a bad breakup. Dating definitely isn’t in his plans . . . until beautiful and enigmatic Talia throws a perfect storm right in his flight path. When he catches a glimpse of the real woman behind her façade, he has to get to know her better.

Talia has to find a Russian spymaster before he figures out she’s not who she claims, and failing to keep her two lives separate in the process could mean the death of more than just her budding relationship. Danny has to decide if a future with Talia — and facing the past — is worth the risk of getting hurt again. If they can break through the barriers keeping them apart (and avoid a major international catastrophe), they just might have a chance at being happy together."



~ Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo



Q&A With The Author:

1. Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction besides writing?
Besides . . . writing? I don't understand the question ;) . Writing really is my favorite. I also like to read, knit and make music.

2. What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
Probably self-doubt. I try to channel it into a drive to make my story better!

3. What are your future projects?
I'm working on the third book in my Saints & Spies series (different series than Spy by Night) as well as a contemporary YA novel.

4. What is the “message” of your writing? 
I believe that fiction can entertain and change lives. I believe in real characters who grow and change, and that they can help us become better people, too. I want to make the world a brighter place one story at a time. 

5. Are your characters/stories/scenes, etc. based on anything in real life?
The setting of the Spy Another Day series was inspired by a vacation I took to Ottawa as a teenager. My contemporary YA was inspired by a true story (but isn't that story) about an excellent mountaineer who died while climbing. And then of course everything from expressions to phrases to personalities of people I've known shows up in my characters! (If someone is blinking in a way that sends a message? That's me. I have a whole blink language.) 

6. Have you done anything writing-related, besides actually writing your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
I've presented classes on writing craft at several writing conferences. The highlight of these was being the keynote speaker at the American Night Writers' Northwest Writers Retreat at a beautiful spot on the Washington coast!





To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Soul Mirrors - book blitz!





My love of storytelling traces back to my step-mother, who spun wonderful fantasy stories when I was child. I finished my first novel at sixteen. That first attempt was terrible, but taught me quite a bit about story construction. Though I would start numerous other projects in the following years, I wouldn't actually complete another book for another 21 years. 
I wasn't idle in that time, though. I earned a degree in engineering, married the love of my life, worked as a semi- truck driver crisscrossing the country, moved from Texas to North Dakota and then came back home. 
It's been a fun and interesting journey. I really enjoy engineering, but writing was my first passion, and I'm excited to share it with you.
I currently live in West Texas with my wife and our two adorable (but weird) cats.

Connect with the Author here: 
 ~ Website





"No one knows how human genetics evolved to create Mirrors. No one knows how the evidence of a criminal’s last horrendous act can be confirmed in a single gaze of a child’s silvered eyes. But just because science can’t explain something doesn’t mean it can’t be used, and this gift is simply too valuable to ignore.

Twins Thomas and Ashley Ross have grown up knowing they would be used as Mirrors for the “good” of humanity. When their powers mature at age twelve, they are taken weekly to fulfill their role. By reliving the most heinous crimes from a perpetrators’ perspective, they alone can assure that no innocent people will be executed, and that the worst offenders are not set free due to lack of evidence.

Justice is not without cost, however. Taking on the memories of others is a destructive process, one that quickly consumes the children involved until most take their own lives. As despair threatens to drown Thomas and Ashley, a distant hope keeps them from succumbing: If they can make it to their eighteenth birthday, their contract with the government will be fulfilled. Changing views on the morality of their role threatens to tear them apart, but the twins struggle to cling to each other and try to construct a fragile life above the weekly flood of horrors. 

As their work takes it toll, however, a new question emerges: does survival even matter when you’re already broken beyond repair?"



~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK




Top Ten List

1) Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life--It's amazing how powerfully the sentiment of "Your life has mattered" resonates.

2) Board Game: Twilight Imperium, 3rd Edition--I love playing board games, and the more complex the better. Twilight Imperium is a whirlwind of tactical combat, careful planning, and diplomacy. Definitely not for everyone, but I absolutely love it.

3) Sports Team: Kansas City Chiefs--I didn't like any sports until I was in college. My brother-in-law told me that this was because I had no team to root for and therefore had no investment. Taking up his challenge, I picked one at random: the Chiefs. It turns out he was right; emotional investment matters! Now I'm a faithful fan.

4) Book: Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson--I love everything Sanderson writes, but Way of Kings just blew me away the first time I heard it. My wife and I were working as a trucking team at the time, and we picked it up as an audiobook. I listened during my daily shift, and was so enamored with it after the first time that I went through it again almost immediately. Phenomenal.

5) Season: Winter--I like cold weather, snow, and curling up under the blankets on a cold evening. I think some of this is that I grew up in Texas where these things tend to be pretty rare and blazing hot summers are the norm. Spending two winters in North Dakota didn't cure this fascination with winter, though, so I'm probably just a little strange.

6) Band: Queen--No logic here, I just love their music. Also, Freddy Mercury could sing. 

7) Vacation Spot: Ruidoso, NM--It's only a few hours away, the weather is nice and cool, and it's where my wife and I went on our honeymoon. We try to go once a year.

8) Restaurant: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House in DFW.--I love a good chicken fried steak, and they make the best. Their fried chicken's fantastic too. If we're driving to, through, or near Dallas/Fort Worth, we'll be stopping at a Babe's. 

9) Favorite TV Show: I Love Lucy--The first time I remember seeing Lucille Ball's work was on a tribute show shortly after she had died. I watched that with my step-mother, and we laughed together at each clip. It hooked me instantly, and never let go. 

10) Favorite Dessert: My wife’s chocolate cake--Seriously, it's fantastic. 



To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page