Thursday, February 28, 2019

Our Stories BEFORE The Story ~ To Claim Her Heart

ELMER (ELSIE): Howdy, I'm Elmer Esther Smith. Most folks call me Elsie. There's often a lot of confusion over my name. I have a mix of both my pa and ma's names. You see I was the last in a string of five girls. I reckon Pa figured I was his only chance of having a son since Ma died givin' birth to me. Pa gave me his name, even though I'm a girl. Anyway, I don't know how I ended up as a main character in a book, especially since most folks ignore me on account of me not being like other gals. I wear my pa's old clothes and can't abide wearin' a dress.

BENJAMIN: Hello, I'm Benjamin David. I hear a lot of jokes about my name. I know it's unusual since David is typically a first name. I actually heard from the author that her husband was named for a great grandpa David. I think the author's husband also had a family member named Benjamin who made the Cherokee Strip Land Run. Apparently there's a lot of history with this family when it comes to the Cherokee Outlet. I think that's interesting.

ELSIE: I grew up in Kansas, farming with my pa. We had a good life for many years, despite my Aunt Kate always buttin' her nose in our business and trying to make me into a 'respectable young lady'. She's been a burr in my hide all of my life so headin' to Oklahoma Territory where she has no idea where I am sounds like pure bliss. I reckon I'll never see her again, and I'm happy about that.

BENJAMIN: I'm a preacher like my father. I heard the call to tell others about the Lord when I was just a young boy. Most thought I would follow in my father's footsteps and take over for him, but after I experienced a great loss in my life, I knew I needed a fresh start. I also had to fulfill something I promised to someone special.

ELSIE: Gettin' a claim in the land run is the only answer to my problems. The last thing I'm looking for is a man to solve all of my struggles. God's abandoned me before so I'll do whatever it takes to protect my heart from gettin' stung again. I don't need a man to come to my rescue or stake a claim on my heart. I can do things all on my own—just wait and see.

BENJAMIN: I'm open for God to use me however He feels is best as I seek a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run. I know He has something special in store for me. I just have to trust Him to lead and guide me as I move forward. I desire to touch others as I make a fresh start. I'm sure that God will use me as I reach out to my new neighbors and seek to follow and use the gifts God has given me. The only thing I'm not looking for is to marry. Some are called to be single and after my loss… well, let's just say that I have no desire to claim someone's heart. But to hear more about my run-in with Elsie, you'll have to check out what the author wrote about us. Here's a little more about it:

In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his 'Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn't counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith's only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land's not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She's willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie's determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.


My Story Title:   To Claim Her Heart

My Story Genre:  Historical Romance

My Story Releases:   May 14, 2018

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The Author of My Story:   Jodie Wolfe

 Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA) and has been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She's a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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Jodie will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ THE BRIDGE BETWEEN US (The Erie Canal Brides Collection)

My name is Susannah Higley. Today, I am waiting to find out if my wax flowers won a ribbon in the Orleans County Fair. I have been waiting for this day for so long! My mother taught me how to make wax flowers, and she always said I was better at making them than she was. She won several ribbons for her wax flowers and always encouraged me to place my own in contests to see if I could win a ribbon, too. Sadly, Mama passed away and will not be able to see my accomplishments if I win.

Pa is proud of me for my achievements. However, he is not proud of my ambitions of seeing my wax flowers sold in stores in New York City. Pa thinks it is fine to dream so long as those dreams do not take me away from our home in Albion. Pa is not a bad man, just afraid of being alone since Mama has passed.

I had a chance to leave Albion once, but it would have been a mistake. My former beau Richard asked me to run away with him to California to seek gold. I could not bring myself to go with him, could not leave Pa to run the house and lumber yard alone. Richard said we would never marry if I stayed here, and so he left me no choice but to carry on without him. He started over in California, and I remain here wishing adventure would come my way every day.

I do the bookkeeping for Pa's lumber yard, a job Mama always did. It helps Pa and I'm happy to help, but the desire in my heart to see places other than Albion never quiets. The Erie Canal leads all the way from Albany to Buffalo. I would love to take a boat ride all the way up and down the Erie Canal and see all of the different towns. But Pa would never let me do that. Maybe someday.

For now, I wait to see if my wax flowers gain the attention of the judges. If I win the county fair prize, my flowers will go to New York City for the state contest.

Everything bad that happens reminds Pa of a family feud between the Higleys and the Hawkinses. The feud started when Mr. Hawkins cheated Pa out of some lumber, and they dissolved their friendship and declared never to do business with each other again. That ended my childhood friendship with John Hawkins, who I believe I would have married. Pa forbid me to see him again after their business deal soured. Then when John's family was run out of town, there was no hope of us ever seeing each other again.

John lives in New York City, so I hear, and if I am ever able to make it there, I will try to find him.

Most days after I work at the lumber yard, I come home, cook dinner, clean the house and wash clothes. Sometimes I even have to repair a board on the house or clean out the chimney because Pa is too sad to do anything around here. I hope if I win in the county fair and go on to win in the state fair for my wax flowers that the prize money could bring some joy to Pa's life.

Some days it feels like we will never recover from losing Mama and from the feud with our old friends, but I keep the faith because I know God is with us and he's always watching over us. So I will not waste a moment fretting. I will enjoy today!

To start the county fair, George Williams from Brockport will walk across the Erie Canal on a tightrope! His rope is strung from the second floor of the Mansion House across the canal to the second floor of the Pierpont Dyer’s building. I wonder how fast his heart is beating. Is it as fast as mine is beating in anticipation?

I may be adventurous, but I am not that adventurous for I would not want to fall into the waters of the canal. So while I wait for Mr. Walker to do what I could never do, I shall sample some of the apple fritters and popcorn for sale at the merchant carts. Then I will come back and stand on the bridge with everyone else so I can get a better look at Mr. Walker as he performs his daring act. Won’t you join me?

My Story Title:  THE BRIDGE BETWEEN US (A novella with The Erie Canal Brides Collection)

My Story Genre:  Historical Romance  

My Story Releases:  March 1, 2019

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The Author of My Story:    Sherri Wilson Johnson 

Sherri Wilson Johnson is a multi-published Inspirational Romance novelist, speaker, and virtual assistant. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and is passionate about writing and publishing. Sherri has been published in The Erie Canal Brides (Barbour Books), 101 Simple Ways to Show Your Husband You Love Him by Kathi Lipp (Harvest House), Powerline 365 by Nicole O'Dell (Choose NOW Ministries), Open Hearts Family: Connecting with One Another by Jane Seymour (Running Press, Hachette Book Group)The Writing Academy’s Daily Devotions for Writers, and several homeschool publications. She is the author of six inspirational romances which she independently published. She lives in Georgia with her husband and her spoiled dog Sawyer. She loves spending time with her adult children and friends or curling up with a good book or her current work-in-progress. Sherri enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles in the winter and counts the days every year until she can take another trip to the beach. You can find Sherri on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Find out more about Sherri at her website:

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  Social Media:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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Sherri will be gifting a winning reader a print copy of her book. 

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

Thursday, February 14, 2019

These Are Our Stories BEFORE The Story ~ THE WATCH ON THE FENCEPOST ~

KATHRYN: Hi. Thanks for dropping by. I’m Kathryn Frasier, and I would never have guessed that I would be the main character in a mystery novel. After all, I’m not one of those 21st century, aggressive, kick-boxing, superwomen who catch the bad guy while doing their nails and repairing the spacecraft’s atomic propulsion system, all at the same time.

I’m actually a quiet, nerdy kind of girl. I’m twenty-seven years old, and I work for a software development company in the tech-savvy, fictional town of Bellevue in the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains. My one talent in life seems to be my analytical ability. I have a knack for looking at a problem and finding the solution. That’s a great gift for someone in computer programming, but maybe not an obvious reason to be a main character.

PHIL: Hey. I’m Phil Warren, the owner of a car repair shop in Bellevue. I was on a fast track to earn an engineering degree when I had to drop out of college because my father died suddenly of a heart attack and left a mountain of debts. I moved home to take care of my mother and sister, and I opened the repair shop back then. I met Kathryn several years ago, and we had what you might call a “miscommunication.” Let me decipher that for you: we didn’t like each other. I thought she was a conceited princess, and she had some misconceptions about me. Our entire relationship consisted of a few words exchanged whenever she brought her car in to my shop.

KATHRYN: Something terrible happened to me recently that brought me front and center in this novel. Four months ago, my parents, with whom I had a warm and loving relationship, were killed in an automobile accident. The police report indicated it was just a simple case of the car accidentally going off a mountain road at night. I was devastated, and being an only child, I was left alone in my sorrow.

PHIL: I heard about Kathryn’s parents, and I found myself thinking about her. A lot. I remembered how modest she was, always polite and quiet. And how she blushed every time I said hello to her. Then someone told me something about her that made me wonder if there was more to her than I had reckoned, and I started looking forward to our next encounter.

KATHRYN: A few months after my parents’ deaths, I was out for a run with my border collie, Barkley, when I discovered a gold watch left on a fencepost. I had a prickly sense of fear and excitement to think it might have been put there deliberately for me to find. But who would do that? And why?

My puzzle-solving impulse kicked in, and I devised a plan to find the person who owned the watch. My plan worked, and my life was turned upside down in the next few days. That watch led me to a dark secret about my family and a suspicion that my parents’ deaths were not an accident. I could hardly comprehend such a thing. My father and mother were lovely, kind people. No one would hold a grudge against them. Would they?

But the knowledge that someone may have murdered my parents transformed me from my shy, timid self into a woman on a quest to find the truth. Along the way I got better acquainted with Phil, who had always intimidated me with his good looks and success in business. Whenever I had taken my car to his shop in the past, he had acted like he was too busy to bother with me. Then one day, out of the blue, his attitude changed. Was he flirting with me?

PHIL: When Kathryn and I discovered a slip of paper glued to her car’s door frame, it set a series of events in motion that led her down a dark and dangerous path. But she is one determined young lady. I like that about her. Among other things.

KATHRYN: So join us now as we navigate a labyrinth of clues, and a cast of extraordinary characters, to find the truth. After all, life is all about finding the truth, right?


Our Story Title:        The Watch on the Fencepost                            
Our Story Genre:     Romantic Mystery
Our Story Releases: February 22, 2019
The author of our story is ~ Kay DiBianca   

Kay holds an MS degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in the IT departments of several major corporations, including IBM, International Paper, and FedEx.
An avid runner, Kay can often be found at a nearby track, on the treadmill, or at a large park near her home. She's completed four marathons, fifteen or so half-marathons, and an unknown number of shorter races.
Kay and her husband, Frank, are retired and live in Memphis, Tennessee. They are US representatives of Bridges for Peace, an international Christian organization, whose mission is to serve the people of Israel.
You can connect with Kay through her website at


The book is available from:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.

Kay will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of THE WATCH ON THE FENCE

Thursday, February 07, 2019

INTRODUCING ~ Our Stories Before The Stories

Journeystojoy is excited to announce a brand new concept in author/novel promotion.

Each Thursday morning ~ February 14 through December 12, 2019 ~ you're invited to read from the character's viewpoint of MANY novellas and novels, just how they arrived in the story they've been written into.

You'll be introduced to a wide array of Christian authors and genres from Children's, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Historical Romantic Suspense, Western Historical, Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romantic Mystery, Speculative Romance, Women's Fiction, to a whole LOT more.
Can you tell I'm excited about this project?
                                                                YOU BET I AM.

I've had the opportunity to read the post scheduled for NEXT THURS ~ FEB 14th - OH WOW - I can hardly wait to see your reaction to the two characters who've told their back story in a Romantic Mystery novel.

For your participation ~ those characters have a signed-by-the-author book awaiting one blessed winner.

JOIN US HERE, BEGINNING NEXT THURSDAY! We are so looking forward to your visit.

Drawings for give-aways will be held WEDNESDAY EVENINGS preceding the next post-date. You'll have several days' opportunity to comment!

May God richly bless you through the characters and their stories this year!