I do not read every book/author I spotlight or book tour I host!
Readers, Please research and use wisdom before buying

Saturday, May 28, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Crystal Caudill @crystalcaudillauthor & Counterfeit Love

Good Morning!

Well, grandson turned 13 yesterday and is headed to Disney in FL for a surprise trip. I'm back at Sam Rayburn lake until tomorrow so I'm not going to take any more of your time but will introduce today's guest....brand new to our blog, Chrystal Caudill with her debut novel, Counterfeit Love....

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves—or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name--and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home—and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiancé is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career--but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets--and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

Combining rich history, danger, suspense, and romance, Crystal Caudill’s debut novel launches this new historical series with a bang. Fans of Elizabeth Camden, Michelle Griep, and Joanna Davidson Politano will be thrilled to find another author to follow!

Excerpt: December 31, 1883

“I don’t understand why we can’t marry sooner. Cincinnati doesn’t require your grandfather’s consent.” 

Not this topic again. Theresa sighed as her fiancé tilted the umbrella to shield her from falling sleet and helped her into the closed carriage. She’d spent weeks updating her seasons-old dress with a larger bustle and salvaged lace. Couldn’t they simply enjoy the New Year’s Eve Ball at Bellevue House and for one evening pretend all was right in the world?

“You know I want his blessing.” However, convincing her stubborn grandfather that Edward Greystone was a suitable match would take more time. Lots more.

“I don’t see why.” The carriage rocked as Edward squeezed into the cramped space. “The curmudgeon hardly gives you anything, much less his approval.”

“He’s a good man.” What other grandfather would sacrifice a beloved military career to raise a fourteen-year-old granddaughter? “And he’s all the family I have left. I need him as much as he needs me.” “You’re better off without him.” Edward turned sideways to allow his long legs room to stretch and speared her with a pointed look. “What did you pawn this week to pay his debts?”

She waved aside the answer as the carriage rolled forward. He didn’t need to know the elegant furniture from her parents’ bedroom had succumbed to her desperate need. One less creditor on their list of many made the sentimental loss worth it. She owed Grandfather everything within her power to help.

“Can we just enjoy the evening, please? I want 1884 to be the year life takes a turn for the better.”

“Then wed me tomorrow.” He clasped her hands and rubbed his thumb over the emerald engagement ring she wore inside her glove. “My work at the shipping docks may not afford us a mansion yet, but I can provide for you and save you from Colonel Plane’s downfall.”

Edward’s hopeful expression pricked her conscience. Grandfather would never approve of their marrying, no matter how long she tried to convince him. Edward’s vocal southern sympathies earned him no respect from the former Union colonel. Whatever Edward did to cultivate favor, he’d always be the enemy. Would Grandfather ever find any man acceptable? Broderick Cosgrove had shared most of her grandfather’s political views, but Grandfather had still objected to him. Of course, he’d been right about that match.

Unbidden, the image of her former fiancé’s smiling face filled her mind, and disappointment washed over her anew. She’d waited six years for Broderick to return with an explanation and a desire for reconciliation. Her foolish heart should know the truth by now. He was never coming back.

Edward, though, stayed by her side, whatever the hardship. He loved her. To delay their marriage bordered lunacy. Besides, where her head went, her heart eventually followed.

She smoothed Edward’s waxed mustache and offered a tentative smile. “I—”

The carriage halted, and voices rose.

“Stay here. I’ll check with the driver.” Edward reached for the door, but the handle jerked from his grip.

The smell of stale whiskey and cheap cigar filled the interior as a dark-haired vagrant forced his way inside, lobbying the barrel of a gun at them.

Edward lunged in front of her, blocking her view. “Get out.”

“Not ’til I get my money.”

Theresa sucked in a breath. No one forgot that raspy voice once they heard it, and she’d heard it coming from behind Grandfather’s closed office door more than once. Vincent Drake, the money monger, looked as villainous as his reputation.

“Over my dead body.” Edward, the brave fool.

“I can arrange that.”

Her heart skittered. “Move, Edward. Mr. Drake is Grandfather’s creditor.”

He didn’t shift.

The gun cocked. “I’d hate for the bullet to go through you and kill her.”

Edward eased next to her, fists clenched.

“Now, Miss Plane, where’s my money?”

“If you’ll speak to my gran—”

“Already did. All I got were excuses. I’ll not be put off again. A nice filly like you will make what’s owed me in a few nights on George Street.”

Edward lashed out with a growl, and the gun blasted.

Theresa "inched, and her ears shrilled as acrid smoke fogged the air and filled her lungs. She blinked at Drake’s smug smile, then swung her gaze to Edward. God, please, no. He was pressed against the side of the carriage, face pale, jaw slack, hand over chest. With breath held and fingers trembling, she pried away his hand. Nothing. No blood. No hole. Not even a tear.

“Consider yourself lucky. Next one won’t miss.” Drake gestured to the narrow space between her and Edward.

Theresa swallowed. A bullet-sized circle next to Edward’s head gave view to the dark, deserted street outside. Thank You, God. For once, He’d seen fit to intervene. Unfortunately, with the miserable weather and New Year celebrations, everyone remained indoors. No one would come to their aid, even if the driver dared to call for help.

“How much does my grandfather owe you?”

“Two hundred twenty.”

That much? “Perhaps we can make another arrangement.”

“Unless it involves money in my hand tonight, I think not.” Drake knocked on the carriage’s ceiling and called out “George Street!” The conveyance lurched into motion.

“Even if I had it to give, the banks are closed.”

“Not my problem.”

At the edge of her vision, Edward’s hands flexed. Any more heroic attempts, and he might not survive. She needed a plan of her own. Her gaze dropped to the bump beneath her glove and sparked an idea. It wouldn’t settle the debt, but it should help her negotiate payment for the remainder.

“Will you take a valuable item instead?”

Edward shot her a look, but he needn’t worry about his engagement ring. Praise God Lydia insisted on a literal funeral for Theresa’s past with Broderick. The ritual of burying both his engagement ring and her dreams in the ground next to her parents seemed childish a year ago, but now her novelist friend’s dramatic ways proved a godsend.

“I knew I did right comin’ to you.” Drake’s smirk sent shivers down her back as his gaze swept the length of her body. “Where is it?”

“Hidden.” She took a shaky breath. “In Spring Grove Cemetery.”

The place where her dreams met their death over and over again.

Please, God, not this time.

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. Counterfeit Love is her debut published novel.

Caudill says that reading and writing are part of her soul and have been since she first held a crayon. While she considered writing to be an escape from challenges and struggles and a way to keep her sanity, Caudill would come to recognize that God used it as a teaching tool. “The stories came through my fingertips, but they were marked with His fingerprints,” she shares.

As she delved into history and crafted her own stories of hope through danger, Caudill would answer the call to pursue writing as a career after her first writer’s conference. “My stories are still filled with danger, struggle, and history, but they are also permeated with the hope and love of Christ. I hope they are dangerously good. Good for the heart and for the soul.”

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Find out more at crystalcaudill.com or find her on Facebook (@crystalcaudillauthor) and Instagram (@crystalcaudillauthor). You can also join fellow readers in Crystal Caudill’s Reading Friends group on Facebook.

Counterfeit Love can be purchased at Amazon, Christianbook.com and other places Christian fiction can be found!

Sounds like a great story, Crystal, thanks for sharing! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with your book and in all things.

Until next time, friends, take care and God Bless.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes Sharon J. Mondragón (@SJ_Mondragón)!

Good Morning from Sam Rayburn Lake!

It's another rainy morning here. Monday was beautiful and we got some fishing in but yesterday and today is too windy and wet. But just getting away from the house is wonderful and restful after last week's craziness LOL! I brought Nora Roberts' Inn Boonsboro trilogy and have read 2 so far. The 3rd is scheduled for today. Reading these books reminds me of my visit to Boonsboro, MD which I shared here

'Nuf about me though, today's guest is brand new to our blog, brought to us by Audra Jennings PR so please give Sharon Mondragon a warm, W-E-L-C-O-M-E!

The Secrets of the Wrinkles

A few years ago, my granddaughter was having a conversation with an adult cousin about old people. The cousin commented that old people can be set in their ways, to which Marleigh replied, “They also hide secrets in their wrinkles.”

My first response to this was the awe and pride of a writerly grandma at the sheer poetry of Marleigh’s observation. Poetry lends itself to reflection and contemplation, teasing out the many and ever-deeper meanings of a particularly compelling line. As I’ve thought about this line over the last several years, it has become, for me, a call to action.

I’ve paid attention to the wrinkles in people’s faces since I was a young woman shopping in military commissaries. I was particularly interested in the faces of the retiree wives I encountered there. I could see how they had spent their lives by their wrinkles. I could tell, from the way deep lines had settled around their mouths, that some had spent their entire adult lives angry and displeased. Others had spent most of their lives smiling and laughing, if the lines at the corners of their eyes were any indication. Sometimes I would stop one of those women and tell her, “I hope I look like you when I’m old.” Those faces in which the lines had fallen in pleasant places reminded me to smile and laugh often, so I would look like them someday.

As I’ve aged, however, I’ve come to understand that there is more to this wrinkle thing than I thought. My life is now rich with experience: victories and defeats, joys and sorrows, confusion and aha moments, the perspective that only years of living can give. These lines in my face have stories to tell and wisdom to impart.  In our youth-oriented culture, “the wrinkle crowd” tends to be dismissed. Many of us can’t even text, much less tweet, so what in the world do we have to offer (besides babysitting the grandkids)?

And so, we hide all that we have learned about living in the wrinkles in our faces, from generations sorely in need of all we have concealed there. Some of us even try to hide the wrinkles with miracle creams and Botox injections, trying to appear as clueless and carefree as those who are younger. 

They may be clueless, but they are far from carefree. Young people these days are battling more anxiety than I ever remember feeling in my twenties. They don’t have the perspective of having lived through any number of difficulties and come out the other side, maybe battered, maybe bruised, but with a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses, of their mettle and their courage. This is where the wrinkle crowd comes in. We’ve already been through many of the things that worry them. We’re living proof that setbacks are not the end of the world and can even be the beginning of something new and wonderful that we might never have dreamed of otherwise.

We can come alongside, not to deliver the “when I was your age” lectures we gave our teenagers, but as a steady, praying, and reassuring presence that communicates, “Yes, this is hard. You’re not alone. I’m here. Let’s pray and see what God will do.”

When I was the middle-aged mother of a couple of troubled teens, the denizens of the early service at my church listened patiently to my tale of woe. They never turned a hair, no matter how wild the tale of my sons’ misbehavior. I could rest in their wrinkles long enough to think clearly. Steeped in their love and steadiness, I gathered the courage and wisdom I needed to address the situation, day after day, week after week.

We the Wrinkle Crowd have blazed the trail and our wrinkles are living proof that we’ve endured the scorching sun of adversity on the way. Let us not forget those who trudge behind us, but look back to see them, cheer them on, pray them over the rough terrain. Our wrinkles are a treasure map and it’s time we shared the secrets of how to find the riches of courage, patience, and faith.

Sharon J. Mondragón writes about the place where kindness and courage meet. Her debut novel, The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady (originally titled The Heavenly Hugs Prayer Shawl Ministry) was the 2017 winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis award in the Short Novel Category, and she has also been recognized by The Saturday Evening Post where her short story, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” was an Honorable Mention Awardee in the 2014 their Great American Fiction Contest.

Mondragón has been active in prayer shawl ministry since 2008 and currently serves as facilitator for the prayer shawl ministry at her church, St. Paul Episcopal in Waxahachie, TX. She also knits with the Circle of Healing at Red Oak United Methodist Church. She is a Level 2 Certified Knitting Instructor through the Craft Yarn Council and teaches beginning knitting at a local yarn store.

Mondragón is the mother of five grown children and has four grandchildren. After 26 years as an Army wife, she has settled in Midlothian, TX with her hero/husband, her laptop, and her yarn stash.

Visit Sharon Mondragón’s website and blog at www.sharonjmondragon.com and follow her on Facebook (Sherry Mondragón) and Twitter (@SJ_Mondragón).

Her debut novel, The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady is available at Amazon, ChristianBook.com and other places where great Christian fiction is sold.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Barbara Britton @BarbaraMBritton & Jerusalem Rising!

Good Morning,

Well graduation ceremonies are over (for me) and my birthday has passed. I don't feel old enough to have a granddaughter and great-niece graduating high-school but the numbers don't lie...born in 61 & 61 yrs young. 😁 

'Nuf about me, let's welcome Barbara Britton back with her book, Jerusalem Rising! Take it away Barbara....

Thank you for having me back on the blog, Pam.

Recently, I taught chapel to elementary students at a Christian school. I spoke on the Bible building contractor Nehemiah. When I asked the students what Nehemiah was famous for, they knew he rebuilt Jerusalem’s wall. What they didn’t know is that Nehemiah had been on his knees praying long before he made the journey to Jerusalem to restore the glorious city.

Nehemiah was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes and lived in the palace at Susa, far from his hometown of Jerusalem. When Nehemiah’s brother brought the report about Jerusalem’s wall being in disrepair and the gates burned, Nehemiah became sad. The Bible tells us he fasted and prayed. (Nehemiah 1:4)

Nehemiah was so sad about the news; his face was downcast in front of the king. A big no-no that could get you killed. Artaxerxes inquired about Nehemiah’s sadness and when Nehemiah replied, the king asked, “What is it you want?”

Nehemiah shot an arrow prayer to God for guidance. (Nehemiah 2:4)

Eventually, Nehemiah heads to Jerusalem to rebuild the city with the king’s blessing. The king also bestowed wood from the royal forest, letters of passage, and a cavalry for protection. Not bad for the cupbearer turned construction manager. Nehemiah’s troubles aren’t over because lots of bad guys show up. A writer’s dream! With all this drama, I couldn’t resist writing a book based on Nehemiah, chapters 1-8.

“Jerusalem Rising” follows the daughters of Shallum as they help restore the wall around Jerusalem. The reference to these women wall builders can be found in Nehemiah 3:12.
Nehemiah needs all the help he can get!

Book blurb:
When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah's unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

Nehemiah challenges the people of God to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Will her father, who rules a half-district of Jerusalem, be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city's wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God's call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same stones they hope to construct?

“So that is why you came?” Adah shifted her lamp. “Not to collect taxes but to set up an office here and bring in workers to rebuild the wall?”

He nodded. “You found me inspecting the wall tonight. The City of David will be a stronghold again.” The shadows dancing on his face could not soften his stare, which bore into her gaze like a hammered tent peg. “This wall will rise and these gates will be secured. God has made it clear to me what we must do.”

She trusted God. Or at least she had before her mother’s eyesight darkened. A year ago, she had prayed for a miracle from God for her mother. No healing came. And where was the rain? She had prayed for showers for the fields. Othniel had prayed. Her father had prayed. The soil remained parched. People went hungry. But if Nehemiah had truly heard God’s voice, perhaps Adonai was showing His favor to His people once again. “When will the stone masons arrive?” She didn’t know much about resurrecting a wall, but the king had renowned craftsmen.

“King Artaxerxes gave me letters for safe passage and a leave from the palace. I have access to the forests in the south. But as for workers, those already living here will secure this city.”

Her shoulders sagged. “We have no army. The drought has left families without food and coin—

“Adah.” His address held a tone of chastisement. “Do you believe in God’s provision? In answered prayer?”

“Uh, yes.” Her answer was not resounding, yet it was true. Once. She rolled back her shoulders and stood soldier straight. Gershom’s insult of her family would not stand. “Whatever you need from the household of Shallum, we will provide it for you.”

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction from Bible Times to present day. Her Tribes of Israel series brings little-known Bible characters to light. She also authored a WWI Historical set in Alaska. Barbara has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books on her website, barbarambritton.com, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

You can purchase Jerusalem Rising on Amazon, B&N, or wherever books are sold and check out Barbara's previous posts HERE

Great story, Barbara, thanks for sharing! Wishing you ALL the best of luck and God's blessings.

Until next time, friends, take care and be Blessed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes @LoreePeery LoRee Peery!

Good Morning Friends and Welcome!

It's been a crazy, full week for me and the running won't stop until after Memorial Day, therefore I'm only going to give you a brief rundown before letting LoRee take over the blog today.

Sunday I went to my great-niece's birthday/graduation party, Monday went to my granddaughter's awards ceremony, Tuesday granddaughter's graduation ceremony. This morning I'm attending my grandson's awards ceremony. Tomorrow I'm going to the Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service for Iowa PD to honor Terry then going to my great-niece's graduation that evening. Friday I get a day of rest. Saturday is Bayou Writer's group meeting and my granddaughter's graduation party then on Sunday or Monday I'm going to Sam Rayburn Lake for a few days, driving back on Thursday for grandson's birthday on Friday (27th) then back to the lake until Sunday (30th) after which I'll go to my daughter's house for a few days since they will be out of town. 

Yeah...I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but don't worry, Saturday Spotlight will still go on and this week's guest is Barbara Britton so even if I'm crazy busy, y'all stop by and browse.

Now, onto our guest.... Take it away LoRee....

Worship through Verse

Most of us hear the word worship and think of singing during a church service. Not particularly so. We don’t need a location to seek the Lord. Worship happens anywhere that involves spirit and truth.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks (John 4:23 NIV).

“In spirit,” means submission of the human spirit, according to verse 24, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” In order to worship the One True God, a person must have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Jesus is the only way to the Father. Once we repent and acknowledge our need for a Savior, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we are able to worship in spirit and in truth.

As His children, God is with us in the Spirit no matter what time of day or night we call on Him. By worshiping Him through reading the truth of His Word, the Bible, He works through me. I can’t write a thing that honors Him unless I admit I need His help.

No “me, me, me”
  But Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
    He’s worthy of all …

All my love
  All my energy
    All my worship.

My last visit here on a Wednesday, I talked about a journal of modern-day verse that I penned, “Worship through Verse.” I cherish the pictures of my volume on coffee tables I’ve seen where loved ones worship in their living rooms or at their kitchen tables, using those verses as a devotional to supplement worship.
In other words, we can worship anywhere and at any time, as long as we worship in the Spirit and in truth.

Psalm 95:5-6
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

Country Worship

God’s breath on the breeze
Kisses my soul, my spirit

Dirt beneath my feet
Reminds me God made Adam

The heavenly sky above me
Is where Jesus will appear

The songs of earth and sky
Made by God’s holy breath

My soul soars in praise
What an awesome God is He

I thank God I’m a country girl
Where I’m free to sing out loud

Heart and breath on the breeze
Heart and voice free to worship.

Psalm 100:2 reads: Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Nebraska country girl LoRee Peery writes fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Romance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. Her Frivolities Series launched her releases, and the book based on her father’s unsolved homicide, Touches of Time, was a personal relief. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author. Connect with LoRee: www.loreepeery.com 

Find her publications at Pelican Book Group http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk 

LoRee's novel, Touches of Time is based on her father's unsolved murder of April, 1975. LoRee fictionalized the story, and solved the cold case on paper. Get your copy HERE and check out LoRee's previous posts HERE.

Wow, what lovely verse you've shared with us, LoRee! We certainly thank you and wish you the best of luck and God's blessings as you continue penning words of praise and worship to our Lord!

Hope you enjoyed the post, friends. If you haven't signed up for my newsletter (which goes out tomorrow, do so because I'm doing something special for my subscribers.

Until next time take care a be blessed!


Saturday, May 14, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Erica Vetsch The Debutante’s Code!

Good Morning Friends,

Graduation craziness begins tomorrow and runs thorough next Saturday so you won't hear much from me other than to announce today's guest, Erica Vetsch with her latest novel, The Debutante’s Code.

Take it away Erica....

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies--and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spies. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors--not to mention the nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission?

Excerpt: London Docks January 31, 1816

“If you lean out any farther, you’ll wind up in the drink. Which, I suppose, would be a fitting end to this disaster of a trip.” Lady Juliette Thorndike ducked her chin and turned away from the fresh breeze, the deck rocking gently under her feet. Her heart pounded beneath her woolen cloak as she reached the end of one journey and anticipated embarking on a wholly new one.

“I just want to be there. "e last twenty yards is taking longer than the entire voyage.” As always when in high emotion, Agatha Montgomery, Juliette’s best friend, used her adept skills in hyperbole. She leaned over the taffrail of the Adventuress as the ship eased into its berth, and her wide green eyes bounced from the wharf to the cranes to the warehouses. “I cannot believe we made it. I never want to endure a journey like this again.”

Nor did Juliette. Their trip from Switzerland to London had been fraught with delays and discomforts, putting them a fortnight behind their expected arrival date.

But now they were moments from stepping on their native heath. Her beloved England. She was finally home. Searching the quayside, she hoped to see a familiar face, but though people thronged the wharf, all were strangers. Not that she was completely au fait with the family she hoped would meet her, having been away from home for so long. She had completed her schooling and would within the hour be back in the embrace of her parents, ready to begin her new life.

Men shouted, Zinging ropes across the narrowing expanse of water, and with a jolting bump, the Adventuress docked. Juliette inhaled the scents of tar, hemp, wet wood, and smoke. The rigging creaked, and waves lapped against the pilings. Cold mist hung in the air, remnants of last night’s fog, no doubt. But the sun, weak as it was on this last day of January, hovered overhead as if determined to burn o! the dampness.

“Ladies, the gangway will be fixed soon, and your belongings will be the first off, as I promised.” The captain, a desiccated stick of a man with so many creases on his sea-weathered face it was difficult to make out his features, paused on his way forward. “If you’ll remain here out of the way, we’ll see you off right smart.” He touched his hat brim and sketched a small bow.

The Adventuress was a cargo ship, ill equipped for passengers, but the captain had made an exception for them in Genoa when they’d discovered their original vessel had sailed without them. The first mate had vacated his tiny cabin—albeit with poor grace—to accommodate the girls. Juliette had joked that the berth was so small, they had to go out into the corridor to change their minds.

“You do think someone will be here to greet us, don’t you? Even though we’re late and on the wrong ship?” Agatha’s brow puckered. She’d voiced the same concern throughout the journey.

“If no one is there to meet us, we’ll get ourselves home. We’re grown women now and certainly capable of getting from one side of London to the other.” Juliette raised her chin. “If we can live in a foreign country for years and travel alone from Switzerland to England, we can navigate the last short stretch.” Weariness dragged at her heart. It seemed she had been on her own for such a long time. She longed to be in the care of someone else for a while, to have her parents there to look after her, to help guide her in decision-making, to give her the feeling of home and comfort she had missed since the moment she’d left Heild House, their country estate in Worcestershire, for school seven long years ago.

“But we’re not supposed to be traveling on our own. That’s the problem. Our chaperone abandoning us partway to the port was a near disaster. What my father will say, I’m sure I don’t know. He paid good money for an escort, and look what happened.” Agatha’s mouth tightened, as it often did when speaking of her father. From her description he was a man of moods and given to expressing them boldly. His rare letters to his daughter over the years had been terse and more often than not dictated to his secretary at one of the mills he owned.

“He cannot blame either of us, and if he’s thinking at all, he should applaud our independence and bravery. Frau Hecht was not a good choice of chaperone, and I’m sure our parents will communicate their displeasure to the academy.” Frau Hecht and the three men hired to take the girls to the port city of Genoa and aboard the correct ship had been in league with one another. They had taken their fees and money for traveling expenses and then abandoned their charges in the city of Turin, forcing the girls to find their own way from there.

“Ladies.” The first mate, who always spoke as if clenching a mouthful of nails in his teeth, stuck out his arm, stiff as a spar, pointing to the gangway. There had been quite a set-to when the captain had agreed to take them on as passengers, led by the first mate. Something about women on a ship being bad luck? Tosh and twaddle. Juliette would be glad to see the back of him.

Holding her skirt with one hand and anchoring her hat with the other, Juliette made her way down the wooden slope that had no rails, her mouth in her throat until her feet touched the rimed cobbles of the wharf.

The sense of peace she had anticipated didn’t come. Instead, the anxiety that had dogged her every mile of the journey remained. There were still so many questions, so much to do until she could feel settled at home. Her parents had expected her to arrive a fortnight ago. They couldn’t know of all the troubles that had waylaid the girls. Had her parents come to the dock day after day hoping for her arrival, or had they dispatched someone to look for her?

Agatha bumped into Juliette’s back. “Your pardon. The stones are slippery.” She righted her bonnet. Lean and coltish, Agatha stood six inches taller than Juliette, and she constantly hunched her shoulders, keeping her head bowed in an effort to disguise her height. “Do you see anyone we know?”

Stevedores, teamsters, and sailors abounded. Bales, barrels, and bundles blocked anyone from walking in a straight path. “No.”

“What should we do?” Agatha clutched Juliette’s arm.

What indeed? Juliette had talked a good yarn about getting themselves across London, but how did one go about it? “We can inquire at the shipping office, I suppose. To see if our families have sent word or instructions.”

Which only left the small issue of finding the headquarters for the ship they had been scheduled to travel upon but which had left them behind when they didn’t arrive on time.

Before she could take a step, a long hand snaked out of the jostling crowd and latched onto her wrist. Startled, she jerked back, bundling into Agatha, who shrieked. Heads swiveled and bodies jostled, and Juliette whacked down on the clutching hand with an instinctive chop.

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.

Vetsch is the author of many novellas and novels, including the popular Serendipity & Secrets Regency series and the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor) and Instagram (@EricaVetsch).

The Debutante's Code can be purchased at Amazon, ChristianBook.com, and anywhere else great Christian fiction can be found!

Check out Erica's previous posts HERE.

Sounds like another great read for fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry!

See you next week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight!

Until then....take care and be blessed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

#WednesdayWordwithFriends Welcomes @LizFlaherty1 Liz Flaherty!

Good Morning Friends,

You may have heard Liz Flaherty mentioned here on the blog before as a gift card winner Sept 2020, but she has never been a guest so please offer her a huge SW Louisiana W...E...L...C...O...M...E!

I kept looking at today’s date in my datebook when I chose it to be a guest on Pam’s blog. And looking. What was so familiar about it? Why did it matter? On a gloomy and wet April morning, I remembered. And, for a couple of moments there, I was sad.

My senior-in-high-school boyfriend and I had a fraught relationship. I was the one who liked more, tried harder, cried copious tears over every argument, and thought life would probably end if we weren’t together forever. On May 11, two weeks before both of our graduations, we went to his prom. I can’t remember now why we went to his instead of mine, but that was how it worked out. I loved my dress, hated my hair, and was soooo excited.

But, you know, it wasn’t fun. We as a couple weren’t fun, either. Although we laughed that night, I knew in my heart of hearts that we were done. He’d asked me to the prom coming off of a fight, and I think he’d regretted it. Retrospect is so 20/20, isn’t it?

It was the last date we had. I only saw him a few times after that, after we’d both married. I was happy. I don’t know if he was, although I hope so. The reason May 11 stuck out in my mind was that it was a day that changed the rest of my life. It was when I learned (although I would have to relearn it again and again) that the word relationship requires more than one active member. 

In a sweet but not quite inspirational romantic novel, Life’s Too Short for White Walls, Joss leaves her 25-year marriage when her husband falls in love with her sister. Bewildered by a new beginning she didn’t want, she drives to her grandparents’ farm in Banjo Bend, Kentucky, not even sure it was still there but knowing she needed to be in a safe place. She can’t even begin to think of trusting another person with her heart.

But the farm is a campground now, owned by Ezra McIntyre. The former pilot and college professor suffers from “a little” PTSD and although he knows he needs the new beginning the property offers, he’s also terrified of it. In his relationship with life, he doesn’t want to be an active member.

Lives change, so often in the space of a conversation, an event, or even a senior prom, and we learn from those changes. And relearn. Life’s Too Short for White Walls is a story so dear to my heart for those reasons. I hope you try it and that you like it, too. 

I’m a big fan of sending out prizes (I’m a retired postal worker who still loves getting mail; figures, doesn’t it?) so I’ll be offering one up to a commenter. Thank you to Pam for having me here and to you for reading. Hoping all your life changes are happy ones!

Liz Flaherty is rather bewildered by where she’s at in life. She doesn’t feel…er…elderly, but the truth is that she is. The Magnificent Seven grands have grown up on her, her own kids are all now older than she is, and her husband Duane has the same firm hold on her heart he’s always had. 

Connect with Liz thorough her Website, on Facebook, Twitter @LizFlaherty1 and sign up to receive her newsletter!

 Still reeling from her divorce, Joss Murphy flees to Banjo Bend, Kentucky, where she'd been safe and happy as a child. The family farm is now a campground. Weary and discouraged, she talks owner Ezra McIntire into renting her a not-quite-ready cabin.

With PTSD keeping him company, Ez thrives on the seclusion of the campground. The redhead in Cabin Three adds suggestions to his improvement plans, urging color and vibrancy where there was none.

Neither is looking for love, yet the attraction they share is undeniable. Can the comfort of campfires, hayrides, and sweet kisses bring these two lost souls together?

Get your copy at B&N, Amazon & Apple Books!

Hope you enjoyed the post friends, be sure and leave a comment to be eligible for a prize from Liz.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

#SaturdaySpotlight is on Alina K Field & Lady Twisden’s Picture Perfect Match!

Good Morning,

We drove home from Toledo Bend lake yesterday after a frightful storm Thursday night where lightning struck so close it burned streaks down 5 trees and destroyed the converter on one camper, leaving them without electricity! SO grateful no one was injured!! Other than that, we had a lovely time fishing and just relaxing. I actually indulged in a reading binge, Nora Robert's "Born In" trilogy. 

Speaking of reading binges, today's guest is no stranger to our blog but please welcome Alina back with her story Lady Twisden's Picture Perfect Match, part of Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles Collection With Friends anthology. Take it away Alina.....

We are only ten days away from the release of Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends.

This collection of novellas by nine Regency romance authors is a perfect opportunity to sample some new-to-you storytellers. The stories are set around a central premise, a family of all daughters, left destitute by their late father, the earl of Seahaven.

Here’s the blurb for the collection:

Love Against the Odds

The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.

The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.

When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.

They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.

So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close?

But it’s not just daughters finding romance…

Not everyone who finds love is a daughter. It was great fun to see the earl’s young widow find her own happily-ever-after. And my heroine, Lady Twisden, is a widowed aunt who learns that following her passion for painting doesn’t mean sacrificing love.

Lady Twisden’s Picture Perfect Match

He’s not just a perfect image of a soul-stirring hero, but a perfect-for-her match. 

After years of tolerating her late husband’s rowdy friends, Honoria, Lady Twisden, has escaped to York where she can paint, investigate antiquities, and enjoy freedom. Then her stepson appears with a relative in tow, the perfect image of a long-ago relation whose fierce portrait made her shiver with mad imaginings. 
Promised York’s marriage mart and the hospitality of his cousin’s doddering stepmother, Major August Kellborn is shocked to find that his fetching hostess is the one woman who stirs his heart. To win her heart, however, he must convince her he’s not just a perfect image, but her perfect match. 


“Where is the footman? We need him to fetch in our trunks.”


Looking past the broad shoulder she saw another figure approaching and…

Good God. Heat swamped her and flamed in her cheeks. Dark eyes shot darts at her over a grimly set, thin-lipped mouth. The palpable sternness of Wes’s companion sent a shiver of awareness through her. It was a familiar shiver, one she’d indulged during her tedious days at Twisden Manor when she’d found herself fighting off mad imaginings.

Wes’s laughter shook her tongue loose. “My goodness, sir,” she said. “You bear an uncanny resemblance to—”

“Old Ebenezer Twisden,” Wes said. “Yes, it is as if the old Warden has come back to life, Mother. As soon as I laid eyes on him in Brampton, I knew he must be a relation. And do you know who he is, Mother?” He laughed again. “I’ve written to Granny to tell her. She’ll be in alt when she reads the news.”

A man of perhaps forty, he was about the same age as Wes’s ancestor, the Warden in the painting at Twisden Hall who’d been in the King’s service for many years when that portrait was done. This new incarnation of Ebenezer wasn’t a particularly tall man, not as tall as Wes, but he still towered over her.
Old Ebenezer cleared his throat.

“But of course,” Wes said. “Where are my manners? Mother, may I present my cousin, Major Augustus Kellborn. Gus, this is my dear stepmother, Lady Twisden.”

While she curtsied, managing not to wobble, he dipped his head, never taking his gaze away.
Good holy heavens.

Desperate Daughters is available for Pre-order for only 99 cents: https://books2read.com/u/bMwL17
Hurry! The price goes up after the book’s May 17, 2022 launch day.

USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature but prefers the happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with a golden-eyed terrier. 

Sounds like a great collection of wonderful stories, Alina! We certainly wish you ALL the best of luck and God's blessings with it.

If you love Regency Romances, pre-order your copy today friends and check back each week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes Wendy J Dunn!

Good Morning from Toledo Bend Lake!

We drove up Sunday afternoon but don't have the best fishing report for you. Only caught a few yesterday, rained out today but as they say....the worst day of fishing beats the best day of work LOL!

Today's guest is brand new to our blog so please give Wendy J Dunn a huge, warm W-E-L-C-O-M-E!

Take it away, Wendy.....

Hoping you enjoy reading my response to this writing prompt:

A drunken man sits next to you in a bar, thinks you’re his buddy and starts confessing “the truth”. Write about what “the truth” is.

“Books,” the man said, sitting next to me. “Do you read books?”

My night out was getting crazier by the minute. I should be home, reading books, writing books, but now a drunken man disturbs my thoughts to talk about books?

“Of course, I read books,” I mumble. I curse myself. At my age, I should know better than to talk to intoxicated men. I should have just left him at the bar and gone home. That’s where I belonged, rather than being alone in the city after midnight.

The man jutted his face closer to mine. His breath smelled of beer and whiskey. “Want to know the truth? Books are dangerous things,” he said.

I shrugged and shifted uneasily on the stool. “I know that.” I glanced at my nameless companion but spoke more to myself than to him. “Books make us think—and they have the power to change our thinking.”

I almost jumped out of my skin when the man smacked his hand hard against the bar. “Who says I need to think?”

He left me then, weaving through the crowd of people, disappearing into the dark of the night. My thoughts returned to my unfinished novel. I was here, in this bar, because of writing that stupid book, and because my imagination had let me down.

I hadn’t been in a bar, not in the early hours of the morning, for years. But today my character decided she wanted to go to a bar. I struggled to visualise the scene, let alone write it. I’ve travelled the world to research my novels—so it didn’t seem a hard ask to get in my car that evening and drive into the city for a few hours.

Now I felt like crying.

I reminded myself of one of my writing creeds, the words of Akira Kurosawa, “Being an artist means not having to avert one’s eyes”. How I wanted my writing to have substance; how I wanted my writing to mirror how I see the world.

I wrote because it was my way of really thinking, my way of growing, my way of looking at the world and voicing my truth. While it was my truth, it might speak to someone else, too.

But tonight, brought back my worry that too many could not bear to look at the mirrors held up to them. They feared the danger of books.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Wendy is married and the mother of three sons and one daughter—named after a certain Tudor queen, surprisingly, not Anne.

Connect with Wendy
Twitter: @wendyjdunn
Instagram: wendyjdunnauthor

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: All Manner of Things

FPS: The Duty of Daughters

The Light in the Labyrinth

Dear Heart, How Like You This?

You can read my Tudor novels FREE at Kindle Unlimited.  

So, true, Wendy, most of us can't bear to look at the mirrors held up to us! 

Hope you enjoy the post friends and that you'll check back each week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.