Thursday, September 24, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Susanna Russell ~ The Heart of Courage by Lynne Basham Tagawa

I’m not quite sure where to start. Here I am, Susanna Russell, sitting in Uncle Basham’s carriage, on my way to glorious Williamsburg—I cannot wait—but my story is a bit dull.

My father’s name is John Russell [The Shenandoah Road]. He married my stepmother about ten years ago, and that was quite a tale, I’m told. But life goes on, you see, and though I love my parents, I just could not wait to leave the Shenandoah Valley.

For one thing, I’ve never been east of Richmond, which you know is not a town at all, just a landing with tobacco warehouses and a few shops. I’ve also been to the Jeffersons numerous times, which is infinitely more interesting. Tom is such a character! He’s always working on some project or other. When we were young we would hunt for precious jewels in the streambeds. We never found any actual gemstones, of course, unless you count colored quartz. We each have a rock collection.

As you know, young men always get a better education than young women, and while Grandda taught me a bit of Latin and history, it does not compare to the education Tom gets—or even Jamie Paxton’s, our minister’s student. He is studying for the ministry, which sounds positively dry, but I hear Jamie studies not just Latin and Greek, but also history and higher mathematics. I do not know if he has studied French, which is my goal. And painting.

I have always loved to draw. And I love color. I do not know why there are so few words to describe the color green. Forest green, hunter green—we must always put a modifier before the word. Green deserves better treatment, if you ask me. Why, other colors have special words: mauve and azure and gold. Why is that?

Anyway, I hope to study painting, though I have no hope of actually doing portraits for a living. In truth, other kinds of projects would suit me better. I wouldn’t even mind weaving. Spinning gives me a headache, though. I just can’t seem to get the knack! My threads are always lumpy.

There’s another reason I’m going to Williamsburg I haven’t mentioned yet. It’s the war. Oh, I know, there is no official war yet. My father says it’s only a matter of time before a declaration of war is made. You’ve undoubtedly heard about Major Washington and Fort Necessity. Some people laugh as if it were some kind of debacle, but it wasn’t! You must understand that between the French and the Indians our militia had no chance at all. I suppose I am just a little biased. Washington is a Virginian, the head of the Virginia militia.

The horrible French have stirred up the Indians, and folks are worried. On top of that, my father and Jamie Paxton are headed north to join Washington, who’s serving as an aide to General Braddock. So he’s sent the rest of the family to my aunt and uncle’s near Richmond, and I get to go to Williamsburg and stay with Tom’s aunt.

Braddock brought thousands of regular red-coated soldiers over here now in addition to our brave militiamen. They are going to capture Fort Duquesne. Or try, anyway.

And I’m worried about my father. And about Jamie, truth be told.

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My Story Title:   The Heart of Courage

My Story Genre:  Historical

My Story Releases:   Date 2019

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The Author of My Story:    Lynne Basham Tagawa








Lynne Tagawa is an author, editor, educator, and best of all, grandma to four. She loves to write quality fiction with solid gospel content. Her debut novel, A Twisted

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Get Connected:

To sign up for her newsletter and find special deals on her books - be sure to go to her website ~ above.

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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 Heart of Courage.


Without an email address, we cannot inform the winner!
You may private message your email to me at   http://facebook.com/joy.averymelville, letting me know you've left a comment, if you're uncomfortable leaving it here in the comments.


DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ September 30, 2020

Thursday, September 17, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Gerd Hirschberg ~ The Amish Menorah by Patrick E. Craig

Yesterday was not a good day for Germany or the Amish. Today is a good day for me, Gerd Hirschberg.

Yesterday, a huge cloud of dust rising over the hills beyond Ixheim, Germany, but it is not a dust storm, for the ground is still wet from the spring rains, there are no dry fields to surrender their soil to the hungry winds. No, it is tanks, and an army, marching into the Rhineland. Herr Hitler has kept his promise. He will stick his finger in the eye of the French who have lorded it over Germany since 1918. Many Germans think this is a great day, but for Germany, I can only see Gefährliche Tage, bad days. And for the Amish it is especially hard, for the Nazis asked us to forget our promise to do evil to no man. They want us to join them in their cleansing of Germany, They want us to turn in Jews and communists, gypsies, homosexuals, all those who do not fit into their dream of the great Aryan nation that will rule the world. This is not good, and it breaks the heart of our God.

But today—a good day! A very good day! My life has changed. I met her, Emily, or should I say I found her. She was hiding in my barn. She is a Jew. The Nazis have taken her parents and killed her brother. She wants to go to France, but the border is closed. She asked me for help, she offered to give me a golden lampstand, she called it a menorat ḥanukkah. But I could not take it, because from the moment I saw her, she took my heart. Tall, dark hair, green eyes, a laugh like bells and ice. I must help her, if it means losing my own life.

How do these days come upon us?

All my life I was a simple Amish Farmer, though I do not want to be a farmer. I want to raise horses, beautiful horses. I have always wanted to raise horses, but my father was against it. He said it was too worldly and would put me among people who would pollute me, challenge my faith. He said I would never amount to anything. I would always be just a farmer. Winning praise from him was like drawing poison from a wound.

He would tell me the story of my family coming from Switzerland two hundred years ago and buying this farm. “You are the son of a farmer, who is the son of a farmer, and all the way back to the first Hirschberg, farming on the slopes of a great mountain in the Alps. You will never be anything but a farmer. You are not fit for anything else. This is your land and you will die here.”

But now it is my father who is dead. He was angry with me because I told him I did not want his farm. His heart gave out. I am sorry. I did not mean to cause his death. Now I am the master of the most prosperous farm in Ixheim. The elders came to me and said because I am now important, I must become an elder of the Church.

But I have met Emily. She told me about America, about the horses in the West, about Colorado and mountains that go clear to the sky. I think now, I will sell my farm, and take Emily and my mother and we will go to America. It will be hard, for I insulted the new Oberführer of our district and he is watching me. If he finds Emily, we will all go to Dachau. If we go there, we will die there.

Bad days and good days—sometimes you cannot tell the difference.

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My Story Title:   The Amish Menorah
(From The Amish Menorah and Other Stories by The Men of Amish Fiction)

My Story Genre:  Amish Historical Fiction

My Story Released:   May 2020

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The Author of My Story:   PATRICK E. CRAIG


Amazon Best-Selling author Patrick Craig, is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful music career to become a pastor in 1986. In 2007 he retired to concentrate on writing and publishing fiction books. In 2011, Patrick signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. His self-published books, The Amish Heiress, The Amish Princess, and The Mennonite Queen, as well as the reprinted Apple Creek Dreams are now published by Patrick’s imprint, P&J Publishing. In 2017, Harlequin Publishing purchased The Amish Heiress for their Walmart Amish series and released it in April 2019.

Patrick and co-author Murray Pura have just released Far On The Ringing Plains, Book 1 in a nine book series that will take in the whole sweep of men and women at war from WW II to the current Desert Campaigns. The have also collaborated on an anthology of realistic Amish stories written with the four other men who write Amish fiction: Willard Carpenter, Jerry Eicher, Thomas Nye and Amos Wyse. The Amish Menorah and Other Stories was published by Elk Lake Publishing in May of 2020. The six authors are currently collaborating on A Christmas Collection which will be released in November. Patrick has also recently released two books in his YA mystery series, The Adventures of Punkin and Boo, with Elk Lake Publishing. They are The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch and The Lost Coast. Patrick and his wife Judy live in Idaho. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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The author will be doing a giveaway of one signed Print Copy of The Amish Menorah and Other Stories to one reader, 
in the U. S. only, who leaves a comment. 

Without an email address, we cannot inform the winner!
You may private message your email to me at   http://facebook.com/joy.averymelville, letting me know you've left a comment, if you're uncomfortable leaving it here in the comments.

DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ SEPT 23. 2020

Thursday, September 03, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Irina Vladimirovna Kotva ~ Her Shining Eyes by Jeanette Morris

Help me! Somebody, please…
I’m writing from Russia, the city of Samara on the Volga River. And there has been a terrible, horrible mistake. I’m sitting in a dingy classroom in an old boarding school (better known as an orphanage) somewhere far from the city center where I live. Or maybe I should say, where I used to live. Now I’m not sure about that, or about anything.

I definitely don’t belong HERE. But for a reason I can’t explain or understand, three days ago a rude woman marched me away from my mother and brought me here on the tram. A policeman was there too. I will never forget the look on Mama’s pale face, or her last words to me: “Forgive me, Irochka.” Forgive her for what?

My formal name is Irina Vladimirovna Kotova. But just Irina will do. If you come to rescue me, just say you are looking for the Irina with the violin, and someone will know who you mean. Not that my violin is doing me much good anymore. There are no musicians here or anyone who appreciates culture, manners, or friendship. I have to get out. I just have to.

You see, not long ago, I lived a rather nice, normal life. We had a nice flat. My mother wore stylish clothes and my father was the concert master in the Philharmonic. I attended school at the pension and studied violin with a prestigious instructor. We were happy. But what I didn’t see coming was the end of our country—the USSR. I was too young to understand what had happened, and how everything was ruined. Now that I’m fourteen, I see it now—but I still don’t see why I was taken from my mother. She has been sick, but is that a crime? It wasn’t her fault my father died. I still went to school. Usually there was something to eat every day.

I’m trying to get up the nerve to go to the office of the boarding school director and ask him when my mother will come for me. But so far, I’ve been too afraid. I’m not the most outgoing of girls. And he’s often preoccupied, even angry, rushing here and there, barking orders to the staff. He doesn’t have time for the likes of me.

Oy! Here comes the teacher. She is late and will blame the public transport, as do most Russians. I must pretend to pay attention, even though the lessons are far below my level. If you get this letter and can come to rescue me, take bus 47 to the Chirimshanskaya stop. Cross the street and ask anyone to direct you to the boarding school. Or, just follow the first child who looks as if nobody cares about them.

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        My Story Title:   Her Shining Eyes                   

        My Story Genre:  YA Historical

       My Story Releases:   September 2019
                                   Happy Anniversary

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The Author of My Story:    Jeanette Morris









Jeanette Morris  is a freelance writer/editor, traveler, fisherwoman, missionary to Russia, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, voracious reader, and slow-but-sure knitter. In my second-half adventure, I'm writing novels, exploring the world, trying to stay fit and healthy, and letting go of past labels and failures. It may be my "golden years," but I believe the best is ahead. My story is still being written!


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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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The author would also be willing to giveaway a Kindle ebook of Her Shining Eyes or a signed paperback copy to anyone stateside.

DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ Sept 9, 2020

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Characters of SOWN IN PEACE (Operation Return To Peace Bk 1)

Hello,
We're so glad you've visited us here at Journeystojoy.net. Our author, Joy Avery Melville has given us life in her latest release ~ SOWN IN PEACE ~

My name is Tori... well... it's Victoria Kinsey Archer, but other than my battle buddies I've served with, I'm Tori. Oh, wait! To my dad, I'm Torrent, 'cause he says I have gone through live torrentially. O... kay, maybe I have. I've served in the Army for nearly ten years and ended up in an IED bombing at our U.S. Army Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan. Would you believe that was on July 4, 2014. Changed my life in huge ways... Ever hear of PTSD? Might want to see what that's all about. Sure has done a number on me. Not just me, though. Some of my buddies have suffered, too. There's a tag our author wrote for ACFW FICTION FINDERS... pretty much fits my story before the story. Check it out below ~
The war she was forced to leave behind 
was nothing compared to the battle she faces within and at home

Hi, there. My name is Griff McKay. I'm a MWD (Military Working Dog) and handler trainer. I was before I retired from the Army about five or six years ago. I had some major issues with anger over how things were being dealt with, concerning returning veterans and the dogs they'd bonded with. My sister helped me through some major issues with anger when I returned to Three Rivers, Michigan.

I'm his sister, JJ Mckay Russell... actually it's Dr. Russell. I've worked hard to achieve degrees in psychology and physical therapy in order to work with wounded warriors, specializing in PTSD and the physical wounds as well. I'm married to a driven guy, Ethan Russell, and we live in Three Rivers, Michigan. I opened a practice in Three Rivers in January of 2015 and have been working with those with other psychological needs, while I establish the wounded warrior platform. My brother, Griff, has been working out at his farm, to get a therapy dog program going for veterans. He's had two successful matchings of dogs to vets, training both the dogs and the vets in handling them. It's been hard work, but he's seeing how beneficial his new program, Paws That Care, is. He's had a lot of help getting buildings ready. A contractor by the name of Rex Archer has been busily making Griff's goals come to fruition as far as housing vets during training.

Rex Archer here.  You may remember me from a few weeks back here at Journeystojoy... I kind of spilled my gut, concerning the things I did to dig a ditch... deep and wide... between me and my daughter, Torrent. I won't repeat all I said in that other post, but know, I've got more work cut out for me in filling in that ditch than anything I've been doing out at the Paws That Care therapy dog farm. If you read our story, you'll meet some other mighty fine people... Marty and Pam Douglas... they were there for me when I was floundering in grief. You'll meet Deana Kinsey Langford... I'll let you get to know her on your own. The less I say here, the better. Let me see... without spoiling any of the new novel Joy Avery Melville has written, I think I'll just recommend you read it for yourselves.

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Our Story Title:   Sown In Peace  (Operation Return To Peace ~ Bk 1)

Our Story Genre:  Christian Contemporary Women's Fiction ~ Romance

Our Story Releases:   TODAY! 
   Thursday ~ August 27, 2020


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The Author of Our Story:    Joy Avery Melville

Joy Avery Melville's heart’s desire is to be the author God has called her to be by sharing Him with readers in such a way they long to have a deeply committed personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord.
Fully intending to write Historical Romance—had in fact— she had no plans to deviate from that. God had something else in mind for that ‘call’ He’d made on her life back in 1967. A mere eighth grader at the time, she had no clue about the topics she’d be drawn to write about.
Surrendering to the genre God placed on her heart has given Joy new insight into the hearts and lives of those who too often hurt in silence.
The settings of Joy’s books are near where she lives in Schoolcraft, Michigan with her husband of  47 + years and their 23 mo-old Yorkie, Is-A-Bella Bindi, (Is-a-beautiful little girl) who thinks she’s a much larger breed with tomboy tendencies.
Joy loves to hear from readers and will respond!

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  Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased? 

(Both formats available)

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The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
SOWN IN PEACE

(U.S. ONLY)
Be sure to leave a comment with an email address where you can be reached should you win.
DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ Sept 1, 2020

Thursday, August 20, 2020

My Story Before the Story ~ Talitha ~ In ~ Talitha, the Traveling Skirt ~ by ~ Becky Van Vleet

Open the door and step into my world! I am a little traveling skirt, and my name is Talitha. My author named me after a little girl in the book of Mark in the new testament. I have been traveling in a very special family for more than 70 years. And yes, that makes me very old, but my red pleats are still intact and my plaid colors are bright. I only have one button missing! My author wrote a book about me because her mother, Alberta, started a family tradition in 1948. Who would have every guessed that I would travel around to all the little two-year-old girls in Alberta’s family for three generations. And I always got my picture taken. My author, Becky, wore me in 1955. As I got older and more little girls were added to the family tree, I began to fly on airplanes all over the country and that’s been fun! Today I am resting in Becky’s drawer until another little girl needs to wear me for a picture. Oh, let me tell you, I have won two awards: the 2020 EIE 1st place award and the Purple Dragonfly award 2nd place, general category.

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My Story Title:   Talitha, the Traveling Skirt

My Story Genre:  Historical Romance

My Story Releases:   Released August 2019
                              (Happy Anniversary, Talitha!)

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The Author of My Story:    Becky Van Vleet




Award winning author Becky Van Vleet has been married to her college sweetheart for 45 years. She lives in Colorado Springs and is enjoying retirement from her teacher/principal positions. After raising four daughters, she and her husband are now enjoying life as empty nesters.  And certainly, the scampering around of eight grandchildren are an added blessing. Becky enjoys writing, gardening, oil painting, and hiking and biking around in God’s great playground He designed in Colorado. Her website is devoted to creating and preserving family memories.




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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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Becky Van Vleet will gift a winner a copy of
Talitha, the Traveling Skirt ~ Including ~ Color Sheets


Comment with an email where I can reach the winner.

DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ August 26, 2020

Thursday, August 13, 2020

My Story BEFORE the Story ~ Selina Kendall ~ THE MARRIAGE MANEUVER by Anneliese Dalaba

Since there is no mutual acquaintance here to introduce us to each other, please allow me to introduce myself to you. My name is Lady Selina Kendall. My father is Viscount Runswick. I don’t know him very well. I have a vague memory of my first few years at Gracebourne Manor, my parents’ home. But when I was six years old, they sent me away to live with my aunt and uncle. I never understood why I was sent away, yet my two sisters and brother were allowed to stay. Although my aunt and uncle were wonderful to me, I continued longing for home. Surely, my family must miss me by now.

When I turned eighteen, the long-awaited letter finally arrived. My heart pounded in my chest as I ran upstairs to pack my trunk. My family wanted me home at last! And just in time for my first Season in London. Mother loved attending the London Season each year. She must be delighted to present her second oldest daughter to society. I can already imagine the lovely gowns my parents would purchase for me and all the parties and picnics I would be attending.

When I finally arrived at Gracebourne Manor, only the butler was there to greet me at the front door. He led me to the drawing room and announced my arrival. I stepped in. My eyes landed on the grinning face of my father who stood by the fireplace with a glass of wine in his hand. Two blonde young ladies sat on the sofa next to an older woman, whom I immediately recognized as my mother. Gray strands now competed with her blonde hair, and tiny wrinkles on her brow and around her eyes marred her once smooth skin. I glanced around the room and realized they were all strangers to me now.

“Stop gawking, Selina, and come here!” came the strident voice of my mother.

I hurried to obey and stood before her.

“Hm. You will never be a diamond of the first water, but you will do well enough.” Mother waved a hand toward the chair across from her. “Sit down. I can’t stand having to stretch my neck back to gaze up at you.”

I felt my shoulders slump as I dragged my feet across the small space to do my mother’s bidding. I didn’t dare lean into the chair but held my back ramrod straight with folded hands on my lap, just as mother and my sisters were sitting.

“I think it’s best if we lay our cards on the table right from the start. The reason your father and I called you home is that it is time for you to marry and help fill the coffers of our estate. You are of age now.”

My heart dropped and I found myself staring trying to make sense of my mother’s words. “I-I don’t follow. Am I to have a London Season in the hopes that someone will propose marriage?”

“No, Selina.” Mother frowned and waved her hand dismissively. “We have no money to give you a Season in London.”

“Aunt Theo said she would pay for all expenses,” I tried to explain.

“Stop interrupting!” Mother scolded.

I stiffened my shoulders and neck, not daring to open my mouth again.

Mother looked at Father. “Runswick, please explain to your daughter what is expected of her.”

He cleared his throat before speaking. “It’s like this, Selina. We have some huge debts to pay off and we need you to do your part. You will marry the man your mother and I have chosen for you.”

My mouth hung open. I could barely hold myself back from running out of the room to climb back into the carriage and return to Aunt Theo’s side. My heart pinched at my parents’ betrayal. They had called me home, giving me false hopes, only to tell me I must marry for the sake of filling their coffers. How could I have been so naïve?

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My Story Title:   The Marriage Maneuver

My Story Genre:  Historical Christian Romance

My Story Released:  November 2018

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The Author of My Story:    Anneliese Delaba


Anneliese Dalaba is an author of Christian historical romances. The genre she has chosen to write in is Regency England, early 1800s. The Marriage Maneuver is the second book in The Arranged Marriage series. Anneliese won a silver medal in 2019 from Reader’s Favorites for Reluctant to Wed, the first book in this series. She’s also an avid reader and book reviewer.

She lives in Michigan with her husband of almost 33 years. He is a credentialed minister and district official with the Assemblies of God. Before taking this position, they pastored an international church in East Lansing, Michigan—MSU country. Prior to this, they lived in Germany and helped refugees in Nuremberg. They have traveled much of the globe and met people from many cultures, which has enriched their lives.

While raising their two children, Anneliese worked from home as a medical transcriptionist. Now she is experiencing the wonderful phase of grandparenting—three so far.

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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 kindle copy - or - signed copy of ...

 The Marriage Manuever 


Be sure to leave a comment!

DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ August 19, 2020.

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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Get Connected:

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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Get Connected:

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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.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Maggie Parker ~ In High Cotton ~ by Ane Mulligan

I'm Maggie Parker ~

My good friend Sadie always says Southern women may look as delicate as flowers, but there’s iron in our veins. And we need it. While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble here in rural South Georgia. You see, I’m a widow. I guess I should tell you I’m Maggie Parker, and I’m barely surviving while raising my little boy, Barry, alone. Now, the banks are failing, and my father-in-law threatens to take my boy and sell off our livelihood—the grocery store my late husband left me.

I haven’t always lived here in Rivers End. My sister, Duchess, and I were born on a farm in South Georgia, but we are as different as can be. Duchess was the princess Mama and Meemaw wanted. She drank in their stories of the old family plantation and the parties, before the war of Northern Aggression. Our great-grandparents owned a flourishing cotton plantation before that terrible time. But after the Yankees came through, they turned the family out and carpetbaggers took over. Great-granddaddy was forced to become a sharecropper.

The work and humility unhinged our great-grandmother and grandmother, who was nine years old at the time—old enough to remember life before. She raised our mama on stories of those times. When Mama married Daddy, Meemaw moved in with them. And then she raised Duchess on those stories. She was sure they times would return and they’d get their plantation back. Like I said, her mind was unhinged. But she and Mama told Duchess she was a Southern princess. I never paid heed to the stories. I was more practical than Sister. I preferred to help Daddy with the farm animals. I even helped with the crops some.

When my sister was sixteen, a train wrecked near our farm. The passengers needed housing, and a nice man named Mr. Alden stayed with us. He was a rich businessman from Atlanta. Wouldn’t you know, he fell in love with our Duchess. He courted her and married her, then took her off to Atlanta. Their marriage eased life for us with the money they sent.

A few years later, I met Jimmy Parker at a farmers’ market. He was buying for his grocery store. I was smitten from the first time I saw him. When we married, he brought me to Rivers End, where he and his daddy owned Parker’s Grocery. When his daddy decided to retire, he turned full ownership over to my Jimmy. I was so proud of him. But my Jimmy died almost eight years ago, not knowing I was pregnant with our first child. My son, Barry, is what keeps me going.

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To read the first chapter free, go to https://anemulligan.com/georgia-magnolias-series and scroll to the DOWNLOADS.



My Title: In High Cotton

My Genre: Southern Women's Fiction

My Release Date: August 3, 2020

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The Author of My Story:   Ane Mulligan




Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown.

But when Ane saw PETER PAN on stage, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college.

One day, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged.

She lives in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler.

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Get Connected:


Find Ane on her

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In High Cotton can be purchased in print or as an eBook.

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The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy or ebook copy of
IN HIGH COTTON

ONLY COMMENTS WITH EMAIL ADDRESSES ARE ELIGIBLE TO WIN

DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ July 29, 2020

Thursday, July 16, 2020

COVER REVEAL ~ SOWN IN PEACE ~ MEET THE CHARACTERS


Our Story Title:   SOWN IN PEACE

Our Story Genre: Contemporary Christian Women's Fiction ~ With A Blend of Romance

Our Story Releases:   August 27, 2020

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CHARACTERS

  • Heroine ~ Victoria (Tori) Kinsey Archer ~ Veteran
  • Hero ~ Griffin (Griff) Miles Mckay ~ Veteran
  • Jennifer Joy (JJ) McKay Russell ~ Pyschologist / Physical therapist
  • Rex Archer ~ Tori's father
  • Marty Douglas ~ Veteran & neighbor to Rex Archer
  • Pamela (Pam) Douglas ~ Marty's wife & neighbor to Rex Archer
  • Tanner (Micky) Michaels ~  Tori's Battle Buddy
  • Rebecca (Becca) Chapman ~ Veteran
  • Halley ~ Tanner's MWD/Therapy Dog
  • Brick ~ In-Training Therapy Dog

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SOWN IN PEACE ~ Back Cover Blurb 

How much can one wounded soul take? 

Victoria (Tori) Archer has the heart of a soldier. Taken down by an IED during her fourth deployment, she’s permanently separated from her military career and left with physical scars as well as PTSD. Moving back to her hometown of Three Rivers, Michigan, she’s forced by circumstances to live with an irascible and unsympathetic aunt. Tori’s battle with pain, horrific memories, and loss of independence creates a deep yearning for peace. Will God grant her even a small measure of it?

Retired Military Dog Handler Griffin (Griff) McKay turns to training dogs at his farm for wounded warrior therapy, desiring to bring former military men and women emotional and mental healing. Implementing his plan proves to be more difficult than visualized with the arrival of one stubborn soldier. Why has God placed that particular warrior in his path?

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The Author of My Story:    Joy Avery Melville

Joy Avery Melville's heart’s desire is to be the author God has called her to be by sharing Him with readers in such a way they long to have a deeply committed personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord.

Fully intending to write Historical Romance—had in fact— she had no plans to deviate from that. God had something else in mind for that ‘call’ He’d made on her life back in 1967. A mere eighth grader at the time, she had no clue about the topics she’d be drawn to write about.

Surrendering to the genre God placed on her heart has given Joy new insight into the hearts and lives of those who too often hurt in silence.

The settings of Joy’s books are near where she lives in Schoolcraft, Michigan with her husband of nearly 47 + years and their 21 mo-old Yorkie, Is-A-Bella Bindi, (Is-a-beautiful little girl) who thinks she’s a much larger breed with tomboy tendencies.

Joy loves to hear from readers and will respond!

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Get Connected:

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The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
SOWN IN PEACE (upon release)

ONLY COMMENTS WITH EMAIL ADDRESS - ELIGIBLE TO WIN
DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ July 22, 2020

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Henry Roarke & Olivia Vance ~ Explosive Situation

HENRY
Hi there, I’m Henry Roarke. I’m a K-9 officer in the bomb squad division for the newly formed K-9 Unit in Brooklyn, New York. My parents divorced when I was very young. My mom was more interested in her own happiness than taking care of me so I bounced back and forth between my parents’ homes. My mother lives in Michigan and is remarried with no other children. Though my father stayed in Brooklyn, he remarried several times and had a child with the last wife. That marriage lasted for 13 years before my father and stepmother were tragically killed in a car accident, leaving behind a 12-year-old daughter, Riley.

Growing up, I always longed for an intact family, so there was no question that I would take in my little sister. I was twenty-five and already with the NYPD with a serious girlfriend, but she wasn’t interested in a readymade family so she dumped me and I decided I wouldn’t try romance again until Riley was on her own. I moved to the K-9 unit and was partnered with the best little bomb-sniffing beagle in the world, Cody. Okay, I’m biased, but he’s had my back more often than I can count.

I want to be a good parent, which is proving difficult to a now 18-year-old girl. I’m protective of Riley, though she tells me I’m smothering her. I’m afraid of failing her. I just want to make sure she never feels neglected or alone the way I did when I was a kid.

Now I’m being set up for a crime I didn’t commit, and I must navigate internal affairs while keeping Riley safe from some maniac who keeps taunting me with texts and bombs. But the investigating officer, Olivia Vance, is determined to know every aspect of my life. She’s become a complication I don’t need even as I find myself attracted to her. I’m not sure which is more dangerous, the bomber or my growing feelings for Olivia.

Olivia
Hello, my name is Olivia Vance, I’m an investigator for the NYPD internal affairs. I’m the middle child of five, two older brothers and two younger sisters. My father’s a captain at the 120th precinct on Staten Island. My mother stayed home to care for her children but was always busy with church and other charity functions, which left me to ride herd over my siblings. Two of my brothers are law enforcement officers in Manhattan. One sister is with the DA’s office in Manhattan and our baby sister is a paramedic in Brooklyn. We gather for family meals every Sunday.

I followed my father and brothers into law enforcement and at my father’s urging went into internal affairs because it was the quickest way to move up the ranks. I married a dentist. He seemed to understand my drive and wasn’t put off by the long hours of work. I wanted to start a family and he refused. We drifted apart. I dragged him to counseling and we tried to bring back the spark. Or at least I thought we were trying. Then he was killed in a plane crash with his mistress and I realized I was the only one fighting for our marriage.

Eight weeks ago, I was promoted and put on a new case, investigating Henry Roarke. Almost the same day, I discovered I was pregnant with my deceased husband’s child. I’m overwhelmed by the future as a single parent and will need to lean on God and my family more than ever. But I also need to prove myself as an investigator so sticking close to Henry and observing how he operates is a must, especially as there’s a mad bomber on the loose who’s targeting those close to Henry, including me.

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Our Story Title:       Explosive Situation 

Our Story Genre:    Romantic Suspense

Our Story Released:  July 1, 2020

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The Author of My Story:    TERRI REED

Terri Reed’s awarding winning romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publishers Weekly top 15 Romance Bestsellers and Publishers Weekly top 10 Religion Fiction Bestsellers, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 Bestsellers and featured in USA Today, and have been Amazon Bestsellers and Fresh Picks at Fresh Fiction.

Her novel A Family Under the Christmas Tree was adapted into a Hallmark movie and retitled Picture a Perfect Christmas in 2019.

She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, Novelist Inc. and a member of the Authors Guild.

She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband.

When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and agility training with her dog.

www.terrireed.com

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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 $10 Barnes and Noble gift card 
and a signed back-list book. 

ONLY COMMENTS WITH EMAIL INCLUDED ARE ELIGIBLE TO WIN!!!

DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ July 15, 2020

Thursday, July 02, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ REX ARCHER ~ Sown In Peace by Joy Avery Melville

Hello. My name is Rex Archer. I'm one guy full of remorse over my treatment of my daughter, Torrent.

Oh, her given name is Victoria Kinsey Archer, but she's always been my Torrent. Her aunt, on the other hand, has always called her Victoria Kinsey. Kinsey was a family name on my wife's side. (her aunt is a character our author got so she loved to hate) Anyway, I prefer to keep with the name I chose for my Torrent, 'cause you see, my girl's gone through life in a Torrential kind of way.

She's my only child... straight-A student... A driven young adult, went into the Army... worked her way up... and volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan four times. It was that last deployment... well... you'll need to read the entire book to get a good handle on what happened there.

I messed up our relationship... royally. I kept secrets about her mother's illness, and bowed to the wishes of my wife and sister-in-law by keeping everything hush-hush. Then, I pulled a real 'stupid'... a selfish stupid. By the time Torrent came home between her third and fourth deployment... let's just say, what she had to face was a whole different type of war. It became a cold one.
Torrent left for Fort Hood way earlier than she would have had to, during her break... then volunteered for that fourth deployment as soon as it came up.

I've got neighbors. Their names are Pam and Marty Douglas. Marty is retired Army. The man gave me some insights I desperately needed.

When Joy created me as a character, she gave me some sound strengths, but she made me human... one with flaws... one with a void in his heart.

Meeting her other characters has given me something more to live for, I guess you'd say.  See if you agree with that once you've read the novel.

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The author of My Story ~ Joy Avery Melville

This first story in the Operation Return To Peace Series, Sown In Peace, is one many, many of our heroes across the United States of America could tell - in fact - when my author, Joy Avery Melville,  researched for Sown In Peace, and the stories to follow,  God granted her desire for human resources to guide her through much of the 'logistics', you might call them. She's said many times, since, "There's way more to this novel than fiction."

Jeremy Rockstroh of Fort Wayne, IN and Keith Youngblood of Bryan, TX  contributed much of their time and multiple stories from their experiences and the depths of their hearts to this novel. Joy considers their friendship an honor and privilege.

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BE HERE JULY 16th for SOWN IN PEACE COVER REVEAL!!!!


Leave a comment here for Rex... one comment will win a signed copy of SOWN IN PEACE once it's released. 
Drawing is next Wednesday evening - July 8th.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Sown In Peace from Amazon. com when it releases in late August.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Mattie Welling and Jake Hicken ~ Lady and the Tramps by Jennifer Uhlarik

Hi everyone, my name is Mattie Welling.
I’ve been an orphan since I was eleven years old (I’m more than double that now—but we’ll let that be our little secret). For the first three years after our parents’ deaths, my brother Owlie and I lived on the streets of New York City. Then, a wonderful man named Charles Loring Brace took Owlie and me into The Children’s Aid Society. We lived out the rest of our childhoods there, and when Owlie turned eighteen, he went west to make his way in the world. He’s always promised to send for me when he had a place set up, so I’ve been waiting. And waiting. (It’s been years now…) When I aged out of the Children’s Aid Society, I stayed on with them as a worker, traveling with the Orphan Train program from time to time. Recently, I received a letter from a stranger, a doctor in Salinas, California, informing me that Owlie had died. Of course, I was heartbroken. My only family was gone. But the doctor sent along what Owlie had with him at his death—which included a deed to his California homestead. So after talking to Charles Loring Brace, we set up an Orphan Train going all the way to California, and here I am. At the end of the Orphan Train’s route, there were eight children who hadn’t been placed out, so since I have this wonderful home with lots of land to go to, I’m taking them with me. But we’ve run out of money to get that last short leg of the trip to Salinas, so we’ve stowed away in a boxcar. Hope no one notices!

And I’m Jake Hicken.

I’m a Wells Fargo Special Agent, which means I get called in to investigate when a shipment entrusted to the company is stolen. In this case, I’m not on the trail in search of an outlaw. In fact, I’m acting as a guard for a sizeable shipment that’s going to Salinas—trying to prevent it from being stolen, instead of waiting to chase down the bad guys if and when it is. That was a fortuitous happenstance, for sure. You see, I got a cryptic letter from one Mr. Ben Figueroa—a stranger to me—asking me to come to Salinas and meet with him. I was going to ignore the summons since I don’t know the man, but curiosity got the better of me. When I heard of this shipment and the need for an extra guard, I volunteered. So here I sit on a southbound train, pondering what on earth Ben Figueroa might want, and trying to keep my mind focused on my job in the process.

We hope you’ll read the story to see how we meet and what happens next!

Leave us a comment, and our author will give away one copy of our story (or another of her titles) to one lucky winner (US only).

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My Story Title:   Lady and the Tramps
          From Courting Calamity Collection
My Story Genre: Western Romance

My Story Releases:   July 1, 2020

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The Author of My Story:    Jennifer Uhlarik



Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list several times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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DRAWING TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY EVENING ~ July 1, 2019.