Thursday, December 24, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Cheryl Chandler ~ in THE PERILS OF CHERYL ~ by ~ Carol McClain

My name is Cheryl Chandler, and I always knew the truth about fairy tales. With every beat of my heart, I believed today would prove their reality.

Warm lips pressed against my cheek.


I reached for him, pulled him close as he …

“Cheryl, if you don’t get up now, you’ll miss your wedding. You’re the only woman ….”

Mom—not Martin—blathered on about me oversleeping then flounced out of the room.

I clutched the pillow I had believed was Martin and swiped off the damp from Mom’s kiss. Yuck. But today? I sighed the dreamy exhale of romance novel heroines. I’d marry my prince.

Out of bed, I threw open the shades. Azure sky peeked out of fluffy white clouds with black-streaked bottoms. What did my earth science teacher call them? Strato-accumulate? No. Martin played a Strat guitar, and he certainly accumulated a lot of them. Ah. Stratocumulus! Perfect.

My stomach rumbled. I sniffed hoping for the scent of French toast with strawberries and whipped cream.


In the bathroom, I stuttered to a stop. My hair! Cosmo Kramer looked better. No problem. That’s why God invented hairdressers.

With all toiletries complete, I opened the bathroom door and walked into the solid wall that was my mother. She stood with arms crossed so close to the door, her nose had to have been touching it. “In five minutes, you have a hair appointment. Twenty-minutes away.”

She grabbed my arm, and off we ran through the summer morning that smelled—what? Somewhat ionized? I looked up. Still, lots of blue.

Even with oversleeping and only eating the cold (non-French) toast Mom thrust at me, the rest of the day would bring my happily-ever-after. All fairy tales abounded with problems. But the ending …? I sighed.


Two hours later, with stomach rumbling, we arrived at the Lodge—our premier wedding venue. The tulle and silk flowers decking the gazebo fluttered in the breeze that seemed more of a gale than a zephyr. No time to think about the wind currents.

In the dressing room, my best friend, Janelle, helped me slip on my dress. “You look gorgeous. Perfect hair. Perfect make-up. Perfect day for an outdoor wedding.” She grabbed the zipper and pulled.

Pulled some more.

And more.

“Breathe in,” Janelle said.

I sucked in air.


I tightened every abdominal muscle, stopped breathing until the world whirled around me. The zipper wouldn’t budge.

“It fit perfectly a month ago,” I wailed. “Could it have shrunk in storage?”

“Could you have eaten a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s every night?”

My face heated. Coughing overtook me, and I couldn’t answer.

Janelle moaned her signature lament—the once she’d used since grade school when she dealt with my missteps. She dashed out of the room.

My stomach growled, and I paced. What would I do? If Janelle took any longer, I’d lose enough weight to fit my dress.

“Here we go.” Janelle breezed into the room brandishing needle, thread and safety pins. “Out of the dress. I’ll let out the seams. Hopefully, we’ll have enough play to make it fit.”

Finally, perfectly coifed and fitted, but late for my own wedding, I stood at the exit of the Lodge. I peered through the glass doors. Martin and the groomsmen stood under the gazebo. Guests filled the chairs under the canopy. Above me … I looked up. No. Those beautiful clouds looked dirty, like they four-wheeled through a mud run.

The violinist played the wedding march.

I stepped out.

The wind blew flowers out of my bouquet. I clutched my veil as my father gripped my arm as though to keep me from becoming Dorothy off to Oz. Only twenty steps to the canopy.

We took step two.

Rain pelted us. We ran.

The Olympic sprint in the rain drenched us. Of course, once under the canopy, the torrent subsided.

At the altar, Dad gave me to Martin. We recited our vows.

Happy is the bride it rains upon, is the old cliché.

Married to my prince, in twenty-years, I’d discover the truth about fairy tales.

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Carol is offering a free copy of The Perils Of Cheryl, direct from Amazon
for one who leaves a comment. 
Please leave your email address, so we can contact you after the drawing

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My Story Title:   The Perils of Cheryl

My Story Genre:  Women's Fiction

My Story Releases:   January 4, 2021
                        Up for PRE-ORDER NOW

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The Author of My Story:    Carol McClain

Carol McClain's a passionate Christian whose stories show the redemption of the unredeemable. Although themes range from forgiving the unforgiveable to escaping the trauma of the past, all her stories are told with humor and compassion. They will make you laugh and cry.

She’s an author of four books.
In February, Elk Lake Publishing will release Borrowed Lives

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Get Connected:

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Constable Ben Koper & Joy Gallagher ~ NORTHERN PROTECTOR ~ HEROES OF THE TUNDRA BOOK 2

I’m Constable Ben Koper, and if you read the article in the Winnipeg Free Press, last November, you’ll know a polar bear mauled me up in Churchill, Manitoba. I had television news calling day and night at the hospital wanting updates on my condition. My doctors kept them away. I just wanted to tell my story once, and I wasn’t interested in showing my ugly mug on television.

Why did the bear attack me? No idea. I’d just left Ruby’s Café & Emporium and was heading across the street, back to my police truck, when it felt like a vehicle slammed into me from behind. In a flash, I was face down in the snowy street, and the next second there was a crushing pain on both sides of my head and neck. I knew a bear’d gotten a hold of me as soon as I flew sideways and up in the air. It flipped me back and forth twice. The stink of its breath choked me.

I flew through the air again and it slammed me down on the frozen pavement. Its left front paw clawed down my parka and I screamed when my shoulder dislocated. Blood was in my eyes. I couldn’t see anything. People were yelling and screeching. I heard truck horns blaring. The bear bit down hard on me again and I passed out. That’s all I remember, sorry.

Yeah, I’ve had two plastic surgeries on my face, scalp, and my right ear. They saved my ear at the Health Centre in Churchill, and my shoulder too. The orthopedic surgeon in Winnipeg said if the doctor hadn’t given me blood transfusions right away, I would’ve died before the helicopter ever left Churchill. Am I scared to go back? Yeah, in a way. There’ll always be polar bears in Churchill. You need to stay clear of them, even in town. I didn’t check the corner of the building that day, and that was my fault. If I had, I would’ve seen the bear coming between the buildings. He was just being a bear.

I'm Joy Gallegher, and I was on duty in the ER the day that polar bear attacked Ben. It was at twilight in the late afternoon and it’s so hard to see a polar bear against the snow when it’s dusk and the light is murky. We don’t have street lights in Churchill. I guess that’s why Ben didn’t see the bear coming.

Anyway, I assisted Dr. Will Stedman with the surgery because I had been a surgical resident before I had to quit med school and have my daughter. Up here in the north, we medical people have to be prepared to use whatever skills we have when trauma patients come in. And Ben was in terrible shape. I didn’t think we’d be able to save his ear or his right shoulder; the bear had done so much damage to him. Torn ligaments and tendons to his shoulder–my, I didn’t think he’d ever be able to use it again. But we stabilized him with several blood transfusions, and reattached his ear enough that the plastic surgeon in Winnipeg would be able to “make it pretty”, as Dr. Stedman said.

As for his head, it took about sixty-seven staples to close his scalp and his forehead. He’ll have a scar running down through his right eyebrow and across that part of his face forever. I guess it’s a good thing he’s a man, and that didn’t happen to a woman, because I don’t know how a woman would cope with it. I know plastic surgery can do a lot, but it’s so expensive!

Anyway, after Ben’d been away for about a month, I was curious how he was doing and I texted him. I shouldn’t have done it. I could’ve lost my job over it if he’d ever complained to anyone, but he seemed to be thankful for the contact. We started up a nice friendship while he was recuperating down in Winnipeg. He’d send me photos of his shoulder scars and his physiotherapy workouts, and we’d text about our day, and what we were having for supper. Silly things like taking photos on Snapchat of our fish and chips or casserole suppers. My daughter thought it was cute to see what Ben was eating each night.

Now he’s coming back to Churchill to finish his posting and I’m so nervous to see him again! He’s been gone nine months and we’ve never actually talked on the phone, just texted back and forth. How adolescent is that? I don’t know what I’m going to say to him when I see him again. If only we’d talked in person all this time, I’d know if he wanted to continue a friendship with me, or if he just thought texting was something dorky to do with the nurse who helped save his ear. Who knows?
Laurie is doing a Rafflecopter giveaway (US and Canada only) for an E-book set of all three of her Heroes of the Tundra series, including Northern Protector. Make sure you enter here to win:

The winner will be chosen within 48 hrs and announced on Laurie’s social media. The winner must respond in order to receive the prize or another winner will be chosen.

Thanks for stopping by today!

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                    HEROES OF THE TUNDRA BOOK 2

Our Story Genre:  Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Our Story Released:   December 8, 2020

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The Author of Our Story:    Laurie Wood

Laurie lives in Central Canada and writes inspirational romantic suspense with an edge of danger. She’s also a military wife who’s raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. They’ve lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When she’s not writing she can be found at her spinning wheel, knitting, or hanging out with her dogs in the garden. She loves to hear from readers and always replies so feel free to get in touch with her.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Adina Hirschberg ~ A Light In The Window by Patrick E. Craig (From A Christmas Collection by The Men of Amish Fiction)

Whenever I see snow, I remember the miracle.

I remember the white flakes falling like tiny angels outside the window. I remember the flickering lamps, the wonder on my mama’s face and my grandmother’s whispered prayers of thanks. Yes, I remember the miracle.

I know that we all have small miracles every day, because the hand of Gott guides each of us, and he is always doing wonderful things if only our eyes are open to see them. But this was a big miracle and, though I am old now and my failing memory hides many things from me, this miracle has never left me, shining through all the days of my life, like the Hanukkah Menorah that burned in our window in the winter of 1945, tended by a little girl who was hoping and praying that her papa would come home for Christmas.

In those days, I lived in Colorado with my mama, Emily, my grandmother, Magda, and my papa, Gerd.  We all came to America from Germany in 1940, to the beautiful San Luis Valley. My papa bought a ranch and raised Mustang horses. After we were there for a year Papa, Mama, and my grandmother became citizens. Then the war came to America. Because my Papa was German, he knew he could help the American cause, so he enlisted. Mama said it was hard for him because he was raised in the Amish faith, and he always believed that it was wrong for men to hurt each other. But he also believed that he needed to help defend America from the evil that was Hitler—an evil he had seen firsthand. He became an officer and left us to go with the army. The day he went away, oh, he was so handsome in his uniform, and my mama cried.

Now the war in Europe was over, but my Papa was not home and we had not heard from him for several months. My mama was so anxious and I remember hearing her cry at night when she thought I could not hear her.

Back in 1936, there were bad times in Germany. My Papa was an Amish man who owned a farm in the tiny village of Ixheim, right on the border with France. He lived there with my grandmother. That was before I was born.  My mother was a Jewish girl that was being hunted by the Nazis. She was trying to escape to France, but she only made it as far as my Papa’s barn. When my Papa found her hiding there, he fell in love with her. He married her but the Nazis found them and sent them to the Dachau concentration camp. On the way there they met a Jewish man who helped them escape. He also helped them to discover their Messiah, Yeshua Hamaschiach, Jesus Christ, but though that’s another story, that is why we always had Christmas and Hanukkah at the same time in our house in Colorado. And that is where the miracle began.

When my papa and mama left Germany in 1936, my papa also left the Amish Church. The Nazis had convinced the Amish to turn in Jews and Communists to the Gestapo, and there were other things the church did my papa could not agree with. Papa sold his farm to his friend, and my parents and my grandmother escaped over the border to France. I was born there, in the village of Épernay, outside of Paris in 1937. Papa found work in the vineyards and mama taught in a school for Jewish refugee children. My Mütti, that’s what I called my grandmother, stayed at home and took care of me. Though I don’t remember it, Mütti said we lived in a little cottage in the middle of a large vineyard where they grew grapes to make French Champagne. It was very long ago, but sometimes I see a picture in my mind of a rock wall with purple and yellow flowers spilling over it and my Mütti sitting in the sun in an old chair.

Then things got bad in France and the French Army moved to the border to keep the Germans from getting in. My papa was very smart, and he knew that all the Jewish people in France were in danger if the Germans came, so with the money he got from selling his farm, he bought tickets to America. And so, when I was three years old, we came to Colorado and bought our ranch. Then my papa went away to the war. And that’s where this story of the miracle begins.

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Patrick E. Craig will be honored to gift a winner (US only) a signed copy of

A Light In The Window

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


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My Story Title:  A Light In The Window

My Story Genre:  Amish Romance

My Story Releases:  November 2020

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The Author of My Story: Patrick E. Craig

Amazon Best-Selling author Patrick E. 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 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 was 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. He has a new book, a creative non-fiction memoir that is a coming of age in the high mountains set of stories titled Say Goodbye To The River. 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 my book be purchased?

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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Keegan Stryker & Taya McGill ~ Grave Christmas Secrets by Sharee Stover

My name is Keegan Stryker and I’m an ATF agent (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). I’ve worked undercover to takedown a weapons trafficker.

Been undercover so long, I can’t remember what life was like before that, but suffice it to say I’m a loner. No relationships because those are dangerous in my line of work. Okay, truth is they’re dangerous for me period. Too much at stake. And what woman wants to be involved with someone who might not come home after a day in the “office”?

My career with the ATF transformed me from the man I once was, but I don’t regret that. Discipline and integrity combined with chameleon abilities taught me to be a better, wiser agent. But no amount of training equipped me to deal with the intensity and irrational thoughts that emotions bring. I can work any scene, any crime, any takedown without issue until people I love are involved.

My stepsister Patrice became an ATF agent too. Following in her big brother’s footsteps. I encouraged her to climb the ladder of success, and I meant it. But her choices and case took her down a dark road that neither of us dreamed would change our lives forever.
Patrice is the reason I met Taya McGill. Well indirectly anyway. Taya’s a force to be reckoned with and she’s a praying woman with a warrior’s heart. I never imagined I’d fall so hard for anyone. Isn’t it strange how tragedy becomes something beautiful when God’s involved?

My name is Taya McGill and I’m a forensic anthropologist. My career is fascinating but the truth is, I live the most boring life imaginable. I dress boring, I decorate boring. I also prefer being around the dead far more than the living. I know it sounds morbid but they’re far less opinionated. They’ll never hurt you. I love uncovering the mysteries behind the cases I work and bringing due justice for victims and families. I longed to work for the FBI but that dream was stolen by someone who promised to love me forever. He lied. And I lost my dream. But I have solace in my job now and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.  And I like it that way.

At least I did until Keegan Stryker threw me over his shoulder. I can laugh at that now, but I wasn’t thrilled in the moment. I’m used to fighting for myself, I’ve had to my whole life. I’m the one who gets ignored, remains invisible in the group. I’m just forgettable, I guess? But I don’t mind. I like the anonymity.

Okay, truth is, having your heart broken can make anyone a recluse. I didn’t consider myself one, I really felt like I was just devoted to my work. That was easier than admitting I was terrified of ever losing control of my life again. Of having a man destroy my heart. And in my self-imposed prison I thought I was protecting myself. Until Keegan walked into the picture, then I realized I wanted to feel love again more than I wanted to live safe.

Love is empowering, terrifying, and absolutely wonderful.

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MS STOVER is gifting one signed copy of GRAVE CHRISTMAS SECRETS 
to one US resident who leaves a comment.

Drawing to take place WED evening DEC 9, 2020

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My Story Title:   Grave Christmas Secrets

My Story Genre:  Romantic Suspense

My Story Released:   November 2020

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The Author of My Story:    Sharee Stover

     Colorado native Sharee Stover  lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and a ridiculously spoiled dog. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. She writes Christian romantic suspense combining heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. Sharee is a triple Daphne du Maurier finalist, winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award, and her debut, Secret Past, won Best First Book in the 2019 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. When she isn’t writing, Sharee enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd. Visit her at