Thursday, August 06, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Abby Ferguson ~ Second Hand Sunsets by Gail Kittleson

You might think of beauty as a gorgeous sunset or a bird’s song. There was a time in my youth when sketching the flowers and wrens in our yard in Poplar Bluff, Missouri brought me such joy.

Then war came, that terrible conflict between North and South. Elwood and I were young, and the fighting scarcely touched our community until the battle at New Madrid.

Suddenly, Elwood and his comrades, patriots all, went off to do battle, and in no time at all they came home—in the back of a wagon. The whole town gathered to see them off, this time to heaven. My name, Abby Ferguson, would never blend with Elwood’s now, and nothing would ever be the same.

Though Mama’s hollyhocks and the bittersweet over the back gate remained, the world turned dull for me. The cardinal called outside my window before dawn every morning, the sunset brought glorious tones, and work at Papa’s store continued, but with no meaning.

I used to ask Union soldiers passing through, “What of your adventures? Have you traveled in the wild territories west of here?

But with Elwood’s passing, all of my interest ceased. Even my passion for sketching disappeared. Elwood and I had such plans, you see. After we made our marriage vows in our little church, we would hitch up a wagon and head west.

We had heard the call echoing through this great land and had determined to set our course. Westward Ho!

Now, all those dreams were buried with Elwood under granite stone. What difference did my frivolous sketches make? What difference did anything make? How the days passed, I could not say, but they did, one after another.

I thought losing my beloved the very worst experience I would ever endure. But then one summer evening, Papa and Mama perished, too, as they worked late at the store.


Many weeks have passed. Still, I think Mama will sweep through the dining room to offer an herbal remedy to a hurting soul, or Papa might cross the threshold.

The devastating fire that took their lives perplexes our Marshall. How could this tragedy have happened? With both a back door and the front entrance, what had prevented two able adults from escaping on that fateful night?

The Marshall’s questions trouble me greatly. Did Papa have an enemy? There was no finer man in our town. An enemy? Unthinkable. And Mama…tears start again as I recollect upon her loving ways. At every turn, she reached out to the needy.

A melancholy mourning dove heralds the close of day and I ponder what lies ahead for me. I can scarcely bear the looks of pity from our townspeople, and must borrow Aunt Susan’s faith, for my own lies as shattered as my family.

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These days, support groups, abundant literature, and professional counseling help us navigate painful experiences. But during pioneer days, and especially in wartime, what did sufferers do with the many losses and transitions they endured?

Perhaps that’s the answer. One day, one moment at a time, they endured.

Second-hand Sunsets tells the story of a young woman who thought God had forgotten her and that her life was over. But despite her horrific trials, little reminders of grace find her in the untamed wilds of Arizona Territory. With time, she discovers that second-hand sunsets can offer beauty, too.
This novel will release sometime before Christmas. Please subscribe to my blog and watch for a notice of its release. Since the cover is not yet available, I’m sharing a photo of a gorgeous Arizona sunset, thanks to Horizon Worden and Lisa Delight.

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My Story Title: Second Hand Sunsets

My Story Genre: Western Historical

My Story Releases: Near Christmas 2020

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The Author of My Story:    Gail Kittleson

Gail Kittleson lives with her husband Lance in northern Iowa. A history buff long before they met, he shares her love for research. About ten years ago, the World War II bug big Gail, and she’s thoroughly addicted to the era. Her Women of the Heartland series and other stand-alone novels reveal make-do heroines who face great odds to make a contribution to the war effort.

In winter, Gail writes from Arizona's Mogollon Rim Country. Learning more about this rugged, beautiful land led to a developing story, and over a decade, she has gleaned new understanding of life under the Rim during the Civil War era. If someone had something to hide, this remote area would be perfect, and the word deceptive describes the antagonist in Second-Hand Sunsets to a T.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Lisa Reno ~ Heart Restoration: Reno Vations Series, Book 1

Hey, there! Hop up into the truck with me! Don’t forget your seatbelt! You can adjust the AC vent if you need to. Summertime in Kentucky is H-O-T, but it’s really the humidity, isn’t it?

Anyway, thanks for coming! I’m Lisa Reno, and somehow I’ve joined forces with my brother, of all people, in running our dad’s construction business, which we renamed “RenoVations.”

Oh! Did I tell you Dad’s getting married in a few weeks? Talk about a story . . . but that was back at Christmastime. We’ll talk later.

At the moment, I’m on my way to meet our new client, because my brother, bless his heart, has injured himself on the job and is laid up. Believe me, I’ll never let him live that down. The upside is I’m in charge for a change!

Wait. Did I remember to fill up the gas tank? Being ten miles from Marion, Kentucky has its ups and downs – one of the downs being lack of amenities, which includes gas stations.

Don’t let the red hair fool you: I’m not a fiery redhead. In fact, in the past I was so shy that all people could remember about me was my hair, and believe me, I did all I could to blend into the woodwork. It was just easier.

Now? Let’s just say I’ve learned a few things in my vast twenty-seven years that have taught me to project a more polished and confident exterior. “Shy me” is still in there, but you’ve heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it?” It works!

When Mom got sick a few years ago, I came back home, and I have no regrets. At the time, I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I was working behind the scenes for a successful TV show, had a great boyfriend, and was on my way up in the interior design field. When I realized that my boyfriend wanted me to choose between him and my family, I knew that was God telling me that I needed to depend on Him, and that maybe Ben wasn’t His best for me.

Mom didn’t make it, and Dad was crushed. I couldn’t leave, then. Two years later, after a heart attack at Christmas and his forced semi-retirement, he needed me that much more. Del and I took care of things while he was recuperating, and I never looked back. Sometimes I miss having someone. Okay, I miss it most of the time, but in a tiny town on the river, there’s not much to choose from, so I take solace in my family, my friends, my adorable little house, and my church where I play music every week. It’s a good life, even if it’s a little lonely.

Here we are at the client’s house. Hmmm . . . Looks like it was a showplace in its day, but wow. Fixer-upper? Tearer-downer? Ha! I guess I’ll have to go in and see. Del didn’t tell me who I was meeting. I hope it’s not a cheap-skate that doesn’t have a clue about renovation costs.

Thanks for riding along with me. Del’s usually with me, or Dad, so the company’s been nice. Want to see inside the house? I had a feeling. I’m a sucker for the “old stuff,” and I’ll bet you are, too!

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My Story Title:  Heart Restoration: 
                          RenoVations Series, Book 1

My Story Genre:  Contemporary Romance (Inspirational)

My Story Releases:   August 5, 2020

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The Author of My Story:    Regina Merrick






Regina Merrick is a multi-published writer, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, lover of all things beachy and chocolate, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. Married to her husband of 35-plus years, she is the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where she lives in the small town of Marion, KY.


See how to connect with her below!

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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*No one wins who doesn't leave an email address!

* If you are uncomfortable leaving an email address with your comment ~ 
Private message it tome before drawing date! http://facebook.com/joy.averymelville

The author will gift one winner a signed copy of
 HEART RESTORATION: RenoVations Series, Book 1 

 U.S. Only

DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ August 5, 2020.