Thursday, February 13, 2020

My Story BEFORE the Story ~ Clara Malone ~ Desert Willow

Hi! My name is Clara Malone. I just finished college and had to put my job-hunting on hold to travel to Texas and deliver my grandmother’s last love letter. She’s about to die and I’m scared. The letter’s recipient, a retired general she dated seventy years ago, didn’t even make it to Texas like he’d said he would. A weak heart kept him from boarding the plane, and now he’s still in Germany, and I’m stuck in Texas waiting for him to get well and make the trip.

Broke, unemployed, and stuck next to an Army post.

I don’t like Army posts and I don’t like soldiers. Too many memories. Too many broken hearts. First Dad. Then Scott. Plus the guys who broke Grandma’s heart and Mom’s heart. No sir. No more military men. Not even the Prince-Harry looking young captain who was told to take care of me while I wait. Definitely not him. Too cute. Too perfect. That must equal trouble—all kinds of trouble.

I need to find a ballet studio where I can stay busy and in shape, so I can eventually find a job. Should have picked a practical major. Who majors in dance with an emphasis in ballet? Not reasonable people, that’s for sure.

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My Story Title:  Desert Willow

My Story Genre:  Romance

My Story Released  February 11, 2020 (BRAND NEW)

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The Author of My Story:   Patricia Beal 

Patricia Beal has danced ballet since her childhood and has performed with pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States. She fell in love with a handsome airborne infantryman at Fort Bragg, married him, and quit her day job to have his babies. Soon came the desire to have book babies, too. Patricia is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children.

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Desert Willow: A Love Song to the City of El Paso, to Family, and to Prince Harry

I enjoy this story so much! It’s great to finally get to share it with you.

Desert Willow started as a NaNoWriMo project in 2015 and has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil, the beginning of the shoe industry there, and the story of the most influential man her town has ever known, my great-grandfather.

And what does that have to do with El Paso and Prince Harry?

Well, my Prince Harry lookalike, a young Army captain named Andrew Lee James who lives in El Paso, is helping the protagonist deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter she was urged to write all those years ago after what happened in Brazil.

The contemporary story of Clara (protagonist) and Andrew was fun to write too because I’ve been around the Army since the nineties. We moved to Fort Bliss/El Paso in 2012 and lived there for six years. I thought I was going to hate it, but I loved it, so I just had to write an El Paso story.

Now I think that what I enjoyed the most about writing this novel was making all the connections and showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply.

Some of you have journeyed with me for a while and know that my debut, A Season to Dance, was my salvation process. What comes after salvation can be hard. What’s that? Well, looking at past mistakes through God’s eyes and realizing just how wrong we were, for starters.

We know how quickly God forgives us, but can we forgive ourselves and each other as quickly?

Desert Willow deals with all that. And with Prince Harry… 😊

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Patricia Beal's Connections:

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WHERE Desert Willow can be purchased:

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The author will gift the winner an Amazon gift card!

Be sure to leave a comment ~ with ~ an email address where you can be reached should you win.


Thursday, February 06, 2020

Our Story Before the Story ~ Hattie Waltz and Arno Kreger ~ Three Little Things

I’m Hattie Waltz from rural Iowa. Ten locals leave for boot camp later today on the eleven o’clock train. I wish the war overseas didn’t exist, but nobody asked for my twenty-two cents on the topic. Every night, I pray for a swift end to the fighting. Every day, I knit socks to hand out to the departing soldiers.

Lena, my dearest friend, and I belong to the Knitting Brigade, a group of women who support our troops by raising funds and knitting socks, fingerless mitts, and scarves. Soon, we’ll elect a new leader for our local chapter. I wouldn’t want that responsibility if it arrived with a box of chocolates, a one-hundred-dollar bill, and a store-bought dress. But Lena would. She excels in those social situations.

At our last Brigade meeting, we stuffed a Proverb into each sock, but picking the perfect scripture took almost as long as knitting the footwear. Twelve women offered twelve different opinions on the perfect verse. Finally, we narrowed our choice to one that conveyed comfort and hope, a winning combination.

I can’t imagine what it feels like to leave the only home I’ve ever known to fight a war overseas. No doubt, I’d shake right out of my button-top boots. The furthest I’ve roamed from my hometown is twenty miles. I’d probably make a lousy soldier.

One of the men leaving today is Arno Kreger, my neighbor, and once-upon-a-time friend. Okay, I had a crush on him for years. But ever since his younger brother died, Arno has changed. He’s quiet, withdrawn, and rowdy. I rarely see him at church anymore, not that I’m the official attendance tracker.

Here are three things I dread about today:

1. The mayor has asked me to sing at the train station. God may have blessed me with an above-average singing voice, but my stage fright ruins everything. Daddy always says, “Do it for Mama.” I’d do anything to please her, even sing in public. Or try to sing in public. She passed a few years back, and I had to drop out of school to tend to things at home. Even though my school-house education ended, I’ve probably read half the books in the town’s library.

2. I worry some of the soldiers won’t return home from the war. I’ve known them all forever. We live in a small German-American community. What if some of the boys face discrimination in the army? What if they land on a battlefield in France and fire at distant kin? Wouldn’t that be awful?

3. There’s a chance I’ll come face-to-face with Arno this morning. A girl never forgets the first boy she handed a sample portion of her heart. Even though he’s probably not the right man for me, I hate that he’s headed toward danger. After all, he’s Lena’s brother. I’m sure that’s why I’m so concerned for his welfare.

If I do bump into Arno, I’ll hand him a sock and a smile. Maybe I’ll tell him something impersonal like “Hurry home” or “God-speed.” But if he looks into my eyes and stands a little too close, I’ll probably say something foolish like, “Please don’t forget me.”

But I’m afraid he already has.

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My Story Title:   Three Little Things

My Story Genre:  Historical Romance

My Story Releases:   February 4, 2020 (Brand New)

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The Author of My Story:    Patti Stockdale

Patti Stockdale loves hope, history, and a good happily ever after. She can’t remember numbers, so she married a statistician. Thanks to him, she’s lived all sorts of places and worked all sorts of jobs.
While employed by an NFL team, she once answered the phone by the wrong team name. She doesn’t work there anymore.
For 11 years, she directed the programming at a nonprofit senior center and hosted an annual talent show, rocking a Dolly Parton wig, Annie Oakley boots, and a sweet—although snug—Batman costume. She no longer works there either.
These days, Patti writes books and occasionally educational assessments and magazine articles.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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The author will be honored to gift a winner an ebook copy of

Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.