Thursday, February 27, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Charlie Harrigan ~ Cold Eggs, Hot Coffee, Warm Heart ~ Story in Heartland Treasures Anthology

Hi. My name’s Charlie Harrigan. After I came home from Vietnam, I wandered the country for a while, doing short-term odd jobs and seeing things that weren’t jungle. Eventually, I drifted back to Boston, where my Uncle Charlie lived.

Yeah, I’m named for him. He was a good, steady guy, and he offered me a job at his diner. The people who owned the place before my uncle, called it The Domino. He said the name was stupid, but never took steps to change it.

I’ve inherited the business, had the front window painted with the much more sensible name Charlie’s Diner, and built a reputation on good food, excellent coffee, and service you won’t find at any chain fast-food place these days.

Ask any of my regulars. Most of them I see every day of the year. One, Doc Dennis, I’ve known since he began med school. Now he treats kids for cancer. A guy like him could get his breakfasts anywhere, but he still comes here, to my Charlie’s Diner. What’ll ya have this morning?


Excuse me for yawning. I’m Dennis Flannigan, but most of the people in my life call me Doc Dennis. Can we walk and talk? I’m late. When the alarm went off this morning, I’d been dreaming about some complex surgery I’m supposed to perform today. It was not a nightmare. God’s been good that way. Then, at the most awkward moment, I had to interrupt my morning routine to answer a call about one of my other patients, Kerry.

He’s older than my little brother Timmy was when he died of Leukemia. I was twelve, and Timmy was three. It’s pretty accurate to say his death destroyed my family. My parents’ prayers got more rare, and bitter. I vowed never to have that happen to anybody else. God, bless the kids on the ward.

You want to hear more? Well, I’m heading to Charlie’s Diner to pick up my breakfast order. You haven’t been there? It’s across the street, a block ahead. Man, it’s snowing hard. Do you see any traffic? I think I’ll cut over right here….

AHHH…God, Bless…AHH….Bless the kids…Bless the kids on the ward.

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Our Story Title:   Cold Eggs, Hot Coffee, Warm Heart
                                (Heartland Treasures Anthology)

My Story Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

My Story Released: February 27, 2020

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The Author of Our  Story:   Heidi Kortman

When a two-year-old on her mother’s lap points to a newspaper page and says, “Look, Mom, that says Kroger,” it’s a good bet that words, reading, and books will be a huge part of her life.
Heidi Kortman discovered early in her writing career that there’s not much market for song lyrics about housework. She then moved on to other forms of poetry, and sarcastic descriptive essays. These days, she’s an aspiring novelist.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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Heidi will be giving away one autographed copy of Heartland Treasures to someone who leaves a comment ~with their contact information ~ about which breakfast items they would order at Charlie’s Diner.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Kate Isaacs & Addie Bledsoe ~ IN TIMES LIKE THESE

I’m Kate Isaacs, Addie Bledsoe’s best friend—we became best friends the moment we met in elementary school. Addie’s the main character in this novel, but I’m sharing this conversation we had about a year before this story begins.
Why? Because Addie is so embroiled in her own home front challenges with her husband, she can’t be objective about her situation. Still, because she’s so honest and shares from her heart, you won’t have any trouble detecting her viewpoint.
So, here’s how our little talk went.
“Oh, Kate, you know I love Harold and try to please him, but . . . something I say always gets him riled up and I end up . . . Like the other day, we were on the way home from church and Harold brought up draft board, since one of the members is also on the church council.”
“Really? That must be hard for Harold,”
“You can say that again—it’s enough to threaten his Sunday smile. Nobody wants to go to war more than he does. He was so disappointed he didn’t get to go when Joe did. ”
“Yes . . . they were always so close.”
“He got a postcard the other day. Sounds like the Navy’s sending Joe to someplace in the Pacific. I sure hope we can stay out of the war.”
“Me, too. What a nice guy Joe is. And you . . . you have so much more patience than I do. You know about my run-ins with Harold in the past.”
“But don’t you believe we should do everything in our power to make our husbands happy?”
“Sure. It’s just that I think our husbands should make at least the same effort we do. Anyway, I know you give it your best effort.”
Addie bit her lip and grew quiet.
“You’ve always given more than one-hundred per-cent in everything.”
“I want to help Harold in the worst way. He’s so miserable! But no matter how I try, he says I don’t comprehend his meaning.”
“Nobody can say you don’t try—that must count for something.”
“You’d think so, but sometimes I wonder.”
“Yet you never even think of quitting—you’re true to your vows.”
“Of course, just like you. I promised to love, honor and cherish Harold. That means listening to him, keeping the house clean and caring for the chickens and garden—helping out however I can.”
“Must be frustrating to feel you never please him.”
“That’s for sure.” Addie’s sigh came from a deep place. “He’s got a heavy load, all the responsibility of this farm, and his dad is so sick.”
“That would be rough, especially when our President places such stress on farming for the war effort. But you help with that, too—your victory garden . . .”
“Yes . . . it’s growing like crazy. And my chickens. See that old coffee can up on the shelf? That’s the money the egg man pays me once a week.”
“You’re making a difference, Mrs. M always said you would—remember she used to say you’d go far?”
“Maybe . . . But . . .” A faraway look fills Abby’s eyes as I wait for her to go on.
“I just wish I could be the kind of wife Harold deserves.”
The earnestness of her dark eyes, framed by her beautiful chestnut curls, tells me she’s worthy of the best life can offer. I don’t know how I’d ever have made it through our school years if she hadn’t moved to town.
I know these things take time, but Addie’s always so hard on herself. I’m glad that even though we’re so far apart, we can still write letters. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do!

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Our Story Title:   In Times Like These
Our Story Genre:  Women's Historical Fiction

Our Story Re-releases:   February 20, 2020
                                       (TODAY, READERS)

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The Author of My Story:    Gail Kittleson 
An Iowa farm girl (baby boomer), Gail Kittleson appeared with her thick glasses at the local library counter every Saturday of her childhood and hauled home a new pile of books. Later, she earned her MA in TESOL and taught English as a Second Language and college expository writing.

Over a ten-year period during her husband Lance’s deployments to the Middle East, Gail’s memoir developed, and another is presently with a publisher.

Since the World War II bug bit, she’s never been quite the same. Her Women of the Heartland fiction brings to life this challenging era’s make-do women, whom she loves to introduce to new readers.

Gail delights in historical research, grandchildren, gardening in Northern Iowa, and Arizona’s Mogollon Rim in winter. Facilitating workshops fulfills her teaching craving, and she also cheers other writers on through free-lance editing.

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Get Connected:

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Purchasing Links:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

My Story BEFORE the Story ~ Clara Malone ~ Desert Willow

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

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

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

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

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My Story Title:  Desert Willow

My Story Genre:  Romance

My Story Released  February 11, 2020 (BRAND NEW)

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The Author of My Story:   Patricia Beal 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Patricia Beal's Connections:

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WHERE Desert Willow can be purchased:

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The author will gift the winner an Amazon gift card!

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


Thursday, February 06, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are three things I dread about today:

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

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

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

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

But I’m afraid he already has.

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My Story Title:   Three Little Things

My Story Genre:  Historical Romance

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

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The Author of My Story:    Patti Stockdale

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

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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

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