Thursday, October 31, 2019

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Ashley Johnson & Edgar Russell (Russ) ~ Practically Married

Seventeen years ago, I was supposed to be planning my high school graduation party. Instead, I had to plan my parents’ funeral. Aunt Rose and Uncle John actually planned it, but I helped as much as a traumatized 18-year-old girl could. After it was over, we all stayed together in my parents’ house for six months. I was all set to start college, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave my home empty while I moved on, especially because I wasn’t sure if I could move on.

I’m not sure if that was a good idea or not because I didn’t move on. Maybe I would have if I’d gone to school. Instead, I used the insurance money to pay for the funeral, paid off the mortgage, and invested in some medical transcriptional equipment so I could support myself without having to leave home.

I never planned to stay home forever though. It just happened. Then I found my mom’s journal. I never even knew she kept one! Reading it was amazing. Not only did I learn some things about myself, it felt like I got to meet my mom as an adult. Turns out we have a lot of similar hopes and dreams, and reading her journal was the kick I needed to go after them.

I’m Ashley Johnson, and I can’t wait to see where I end up.

My whole life has happened on the farm. My earliest memories include apple and cherry trees. And my dad. When other kids were watching Saturday morning cartoons, I got to sit shotgun with my dad as we drove through the orchards or delivered produce. Uncle Bill and my cousin, Tom, were almost always there with us. No one ever told us we had to work on the farm when we grew up. I don’t think either one of us ever considered anything else, though.

I can’t imagine life without Tom. Growing up with three younger sisters, I couldn’t wait to leave the house to meet my cousin. I don’t know what I would have done without him when my dad died. Dad wasn’t unhealthy or sick. The doctor said there aren’t many symptoms of a brain aneurysm, besides a headache, and Dad wouldn’t have missed a day of work for that. I don’t remember much about the day he died, but I know I wouldn’t have gotten through the next year without Tom.

That’s why I’m not sure what to do now that Tom’s gone. His annual hiking trip. I’ve actually gone with him a dozen times over the years, but not this year. If I’d gone, maybe … maybe we both would have slipped and fallen. Who knows? What I do know is that I have a farm to run, a family to watch out for, and a beautiful stranger named Ashley looking for Tom.

I’m Edgar Russell—everyone calls me Russ—and who knows how this will end up.

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Our Story Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Our Story Releases:  Tuesday ~ October 22, 2019

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The Author of Our Story:    Karin Beery

Karin Beery grew up in a rural Michigan town, where she wrote her first novel in high school. Today, she writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s reading, editing, or teaching it. In her free time, she enjoys watching University of Michigan football and action-adventure movies with her husband and fur babies.

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The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
Practically Married
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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Millie and Jake ~ Millie's Christmas

My name is Millie. I’m a four month old kitten.

My best friend Ruthie is teaching me all about Christmas, especially about Jesus.

Something scary happened though when Ruthie’s big brother Jake—he’s nineteen—fell and broke his ankle. He realized he couldn’t visit his mommy for Christmas, which made him really sad. And Ruthie too.

I’m very grown-up, but I don’t have much life behind me yet to share with you. I asked Jake to share with you about his life, since it has a lot to do with the story. I’m learning so much about people stuff.

Anyway, here’s Jake.

My parents got a divorce when I was about nine, and I’ve always lived with my dad.

We met a nice lady named Judy a year or so later, and once we all knew each other and knew we liked each other, she and Dad got married.

When I was thirteen, they had a baby, a little girl named Ruthie. I never knew how fun it was going to be to be a big brother.

I’m happy living with Dad and Judy and Ruthie. I’m in college now, and it’s helpful to still be able to live at home.

But I visit my mom as much as I can.

After the divorce, Mom moved back in with my Grandma in another state. She got a job and moved into an apartment of her own after a couple years, but she still lives in the same town where she grew up.

Mom told me she really loved me, but she thought it was best for me to stay with Dad. She said she’d been really sick, and she’d explain it to me more when I was older.

I’m older now, and I don’t know if I want to know any time soon. I get along good with my Dad and Mom, and I just want to keep it that way.

I visit Mom in the summer, and every year I spend Christmas with her. It’s our tradition.

But not this year. I broke my ankle pretty bad, and I can’t fly.

Dad said he’s glad we’re going to be able to spend Christmas together. And Ruthie is really happy about it, so I need to be happy for them. I’m praying about that.

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Our Story Title:   Millie's Christmas

Our Story Genre:  Children’s fiction ages five to eight,
                             (All ages will enjoy this story)

Our Story Releases:   October 22, 2019
                                   (kindle pre-order now)

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The Author of My Story:    Kathy McKinsey

Kathy McKinsey grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for nearly 40 years, she still considers herself a farm girl.

She’s been married to Murray for 32 years, and they have five adult children.
She’s had two careers before writing—stay-at-home-Mom and rehabilitation teacher for the blind.
She lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dog.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?
(Book is up for Pre-Order NOW)

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The author will be honored to gift a winner an 
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Morgan James ~ A Magnolia Blooms in Winter

Hello! Or as we say in the South, Hey, y’all! Although as an actor—nobody says actress anymore— on Broadway, I’ve been working hard to eliminate my Southern accent. I’m Morgan James and I’ve been in New York for several years, striving for my big break and a starring role on Broadway.

Last year, I played the second lead in a Broadway show and got good reviews. Then, I recently auditioned for the lead in Bloom!, a new off-Broadway production. I’m was born for that part. I keep asking God, since He gave me my talent, to please give me favor with the director. I know it’s Off Broadway, but it’s the lead and one step closer to being a Broadway star. My old high school sweetheart, Andy Wayfield, always told me to reach for the stars.

Then my mother calls me. Y’all are going to love my mother. She is so funny. She talks all around a subject before she gets to the point. Drives me to distraction, but all my friends love her. Well, it seems she somehow squashed the music minister at church, and they need my help to put on the Christmas musical. I guess since I wrote it, they think I’m the best one to help out.

Do I need to tell you who that music minister is? You guessed old flame, Andy. Just saying his name still makes my heart flip over. But our lives are so far apart, what with him back home in Sugar Hill, Georgia and me in New York City. But, since it was my mama who broke his ankle, I can’t say no.

Then, I arrive home and see Andy. Oh my!

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My Story Title:  A Magnolia Blooms in Winter
A Southern Season:
 Four Stories From A Front Porch Swing

My Story Genre: Romance

My Story Released:   September 2018

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The Author of My Story:    Ane Mulligan

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Amazon bestselling author Ane Mulligan has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, and bestselling novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler who thinks he’s a teddy bear.

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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 a signed copy of

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


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Rachel and Emily ~ The Trouble in Willow Falls

The day I spread a blanket on our foyer floor and invited Mom to join my audience of stuffed animals she applauded my five-year-old version of Aladdin and called me her darling, Rachel, a talented little actress. For six years she inspired me and my friends to create our own one-act performances. Her love and accolades gave my dream wings and made me believe I could fly.

Then cancer snatched her away and reduced my family of three to two. My father rarely watched my childhood performances. He was too busy building Streetman Enterprise into the South’s most successful real-estate-development firm. His vision for my future didn’t include acting. Thus, he began to groom me to follow in his footsteps, hoping one day I’d become his successor. For years I secretly held tight to my dreams, until my final performance as Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street at the University of Georgia. That’s the night my father presented me with a bouquet of roses and said, “Nice job, Strawberry Girl, but it’s time to grow up and take your place in the real world.” Which I did, for seven long years. Then I met Charlie Bricker and Emily Hayes and discovered Willow Falls.

Hello, I’m Emily. I live two hours north of Atlanta in Willow Falls, the little town where I grew up. Although as an only child I yearned, even begged for a sister, I had a happy childhood and a lot of friends. Some of my fondest memories include Scott. We often played hide-and-seek in his family’s store. He sparked my sixth-grade crush when he found me crouched behind a barrel of kitchen gadgets and kissed me for the first time. Little did I know he’d one day become my husband and inherit Hayes General Store.

Today I’m editor of the Willow Post and an aspiring novelist, motivated by Mom’s passion for reading and my parents’ love for Willow Falls. Most of our childhood friends moved away. The result of the town’s long painful path to failure triggered when Sadie Liles killed the town hero. She spent thirty years behind bars, before returning to scene of her crime.

The story of Willow Falls’ quest to transform itself into a tourist destination, and Rachel’s, Sadie’s, and my collision with truth and destiny began in The Secret of Willow Inn.

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Our Story Title:   THE TROUBLE IN WILLOW FALLS                                   Willow Falls Series - Book 2
Our Story Genre:  Contemporary Women's Fiction
Our Story Releases:   November 4, 2019

Readers: Mark that on your calendars!!!!

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The Author of Our Story:    Pat Nichols

Retired from a twenty-seven-year corporate career, Pat Nichols draws on her experience in seven different management positions working with hundreds of amazing women from all walks of life to create stories about women facing challenges in the pursuit of their dreams. Her debut novel, The Secret of Willow Inn, Willow Falls series book one, was released January, 2019. Book two in the series is scheduled for release November 2019. Pat received a 2018 NGCWC Georgia Peach Award for her short story, The Vet and Valentine’s Day and the 2017 CRW Woman of the Year Award. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers International.

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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 a signed copy of
The Trouble in Willow Falls.
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Thursday, October 03, 2019

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Karina & Tristan ~ Sword of Soter

At a random inn, in a random town, right in the middle of Tzedek…

KARINA: (clothed in a purple dress for the first time in a while, her dark hair hanging in a long braid, sits on a platform next to Tristan) Greetings, great readers! Welcome to the Three Kingdoms. I apologize that I am not in Aletheia, where I could welcome you properly. For now, we shall have to endure this lesser hall as I endeavor to answer questions.

TRISTAN: (looks rather uncomfortable as he fidgets in his formal dark pants, forest green tunic, and golden sash, but the way he sits shows that he is protective of Karina) I don’t know why we had to dress up for this.

KARINA: You will have to forgive my friend, Tristan. Our journey has been long. We are wearied, and there is still so much we have yet to accomplish.

TRISTAN: Which is why we should not have stopped for this.

KARINA: (ignores him) You see, I am a Prophetess of the Creator and Queen of Aletheia—though neither is in the realm of what I expected or trained to be. I have been charged with collecting the sacred Armor of the Creator in order to defeat a most foul ancient evil who is using the Warlock King to infect this world.

TRISTAN: Why’d you have to go and mention my brother? (mutters) At least you didn’t marry him.

KARINA: (giving him a confused look) He is the whole reason we are on this quest! (looks back to the crowd) I see many of you are confused. Let me start at the beginning.

When I was just a small child, my father was exiled from Aletheia for betraying his brother—King Pistis of Aletheia. We retreated to Soter for a time, until my parents were both killed by men who are yet still unknown to me. I was placed on an orphan train where I traveled the Three Kingdoms, until they too came under attack.

After suffering for days in the northern forests of Soter, the royal healer of Aletheia found me, near death, and brought me back to the royal house. He nursed me back to health and then took me on as his apprentice. I enjoyed learning the healing arts, and the king—my uncle—never seemed the wiser.

Until he was on his deathbed.

While I cared from him in the absence of the royal healer, he revealed that he had known who I was for a while. And, since he had no children of his own, I was the only heir to his thrown! Talk about having the air sucked out of my lungs. I could not even respond!

Before I could even take on the mantle of queen, a servant of the Creator appeared and proclaimed me a prophetess and gave me a quest. The Three Kingdoms was being invaded by an ancient evil that wanted nothing more than to destroy all the Creator had done. I was to travel to the 3 temples to collect the sacred Armor of the Creator.

TRISTAN: At least she would try. Until I kidnapped her.

KARINA: (a small smirk adds humor to her smug expression) Indeed. You should share a bit of your history.

TRISTAN: (groans) No.

KARINA: I am sure these gentle readers would love to know why you would kidnap the Queen of Aletheia, haul her back to the Warlock King—your brother—and then end up helping her to escape and complete the first leg of the quest.

TRISTAN: See, now they know.

KARINA: (another sigh) Tristan Lemur is the second son of the former King of Tzedek. His brother, Faramos, killed their father and took his place. He rules the kingdom with an iron fist and the threat of the ancient evil. Tristan was his bounty hunter and assassin.

TRISTAN: I only took that position so that I could remain close to my brother in order to avenge the death of BOTH of my parents.

KARINA: (nods with wise understanding) But he came to realize that vengeance was not his to take.

TRISTAN: Not exactly.

KARINA: What do you mean?

TRISTAN: I originally followed after you only because I thought I would have a better chance of achieving my goal on your side. Had nothing to do with realizing anything other than my own incompetence.

KARINA: You are not incompetent. I think, well, Faramos was your brother, the last of your family in the Three Kingdoms. I imagine it was hard for you to comprehend removing that connection, no matter how evil he is.

TRISTAN: I don’t think you quite understand the depth of my hatred.

KARINA: (furrows her brow, but clears her throat) Regardless of his reasons, Tristan ended up helping me through the first part of the quest in Aletheia. Without him, I may not have survived! Now, we have just finished our harrowing journey through Soter. I cannot reveal more about that experience yet.

TRISTAN: I’m just glad to be done with the deception and pretense of that kingdom. At least Faramos is up front about his evil ways.

KARINA: He is not! He tried to garner a betrothal from me in order to take my kingdom! Under the name of peace.

TRISTAN: (grunts) Well, at least I know who Faramos is and what he is about. You just had to find out the hard way.

KARINA: It was not that hard.

TRISTAN: (looks to the back of the room as an elf with pale skin and raven hair flings the door open) Rashka says we need to go. Faramos’s scouts have been spotted in the area.

KARINA: (wavering smile) Well, thank you for listening to the story of how we got came to grace this town. Well, at least the story of how we came to be on this quest. The Honored Scribe says you can read the beginning of our actual journey in Armor of Aletheia and continue on with us in the latest story Sword of Soter, just out this week!

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Our Story Title:   SWORD OF SOTER
Sacred Armor Trilogy - Book 2

Our Story Genre:  YA Fantasy

Our Story Released:   SEPTEMBER 26, 2019


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The Author of Our Story:    RALENE BURKE

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone #SHINEBeyond their circumstances! Her fantasy novels are available on Amazon.
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their 3 kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all-around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

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Get Connected:

WHERE can the book be purchased?

~ ~ ~ ~

The author has offered 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.