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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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!

The author will gift one winner a signed copy of
 HEART RESTORATION: RenoVations Series, Book 1 

 U.S. Only


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 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



Thursday, July 16, 2020


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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  • 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)


Thursday, July 09, 2020

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

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.

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.

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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. 



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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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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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Kylie Stone (not really my name) & Luke Dryden ~ Justice Undercover by Connie Queen

Hello, my name is not really Kylie Stone. But don’t tell anyone. If I want to stay alive, I must remain dead. Three years ago, I was US Marshal Melody Garner and lost a young mom and two children under my protection to Hal Alcott, a popular businessman accused of laundering drug money and racketeering—a killer who will stop at nothing to protect the empire he built by illegal means. Injured and fearing Hal will come after me, I fake my own death and change my identity. My life is even more complicated by my mother’s cancer diagnosis, and I desperately want to get back to my loving family and let them know I’m alive. But first, Hal Alcott must be brought to justice. Even though my greatest fear is losing another family, I take a nanny job for a Texas Ranger so I can investigate his sister’s death—a death I believe may be connected to Hal.

Hello, my name is Luke Dryden. I’m a 34-year-old Texas Ranger and recently learned my dad—the man I idolized and loved—adopted me. I can’t believe I’ve been lied to my whole life and now I’m leery to trust others. My sister died and left me to care for her two-year-old twins. Not believing her death was an accident, I hire a nanny and delve into my sister’s past to see if I can find answers.

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My Story Title:   Justice Undercover

My Story Genre:  Christian Romantic Suspense

My Story Releases:   June 2, 2020

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The Author of My Story:    Connie Queen

Connie Queen spent her life in Texas where she met and married her high-school sweetheart. Married for 34 years, they’ve raised eight children and are enjoying their grandchildren.

As a child, Connie remembers her mom and sisters reading, but she preferred to be outside. It wasn't until later, she found the joy of being whisked away into another world.

Today she resides in Nebraska with her husband, and Nash, her Great Dane, where she’s working on her next suspense.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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

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


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Lexie Parker & Clint Rawlins ~ from The Cowboy's Missing Memory ~ by Shannon Vannatter

Hi, I’m Lexie Parker and I’m really nervous about this job I’ve taken on. I’m an occupational therapist. In case you don’t know what that is, I work mostly with the hands, developing fine motor skills. Some of my therapy for patients involves playing cards or board games or catch. All three activities involve repetitive fine motor skill movements. But also, I help patients with coping mechanisms brought on by their illness or injury.

Since I left home in Medina, Texas for college in San Antonio, I’ve been there working in a large hospital to pay off my student loans. But I just finished my two weeks notice there and I’m moving home to work in a small rehab center. Since I still owe, I’m planning to stay with my parents until I get everything paid off. Then I’ll get a place of my own.

But on my last day, I ran into Audrey Rawlins. My very first patient was her husband, Levi. He was struggling with degenerative brain disease from too many bull wrecks. I helped him learn to feed himself and eventually walk again. But he died a few months later.

I always felt like I failed him. And since I got close to his wife, Audrey during the time I worked with Levi, how could I turn her down when she begged me to be her son’s therapist? Clint Rawlins was recently injured in a bull wreck at a rodeo. I won’t even get into what I think of bull riding or what I think of Clint getting into the sport that killed his father.

Clint suffered a traumatic brain injury. He has balance issues, he can’t remember the last two years, and his fine motor skills have been damaged. He can’t feed himself, brush his teeth, or get dressed on his own, without difficulty.

I’ve worked with patients and their physical therapists enough to where I can help with the balance issues and though I took some counseling courses, his memory loss is out of my wheelhouse. I can help him learn to deal with his frustrations, but I’m not sure what to do about his memory.

But the thing I’m really nervous about, I’ve never been attracted to a patient before.

My name is Clint Rawlins. I’m a rancher. Not a bull rider. That was my dad. Over the years, I dabbled in the sport, but it really wasn’t my thing. But my dad died six months ago and my mom was about to lose the ranch. So I secretly competed in the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, a two week, annual event.

I made it through the whole thing in 1st place. On the final night, I made the buzzer, but crashed on my dismount and the bull stepped on my head. I don’t remember much, but that’s what they told me when I woke up in the ER. To tell you the truth, my brain feels kind of scrambled.

There was a nurse in my room when I woke up. I knew her, but I wasn’t sure how. Turns out she’s not a nurse, but an occupational therapist. And I remember her from my dad’s funeral. She was his therapist, but we never met because she worked with him during the day while I was busy with the ranch.

But now my mom’s telling me that it’s been two years since Dad died instead of six months like I thought. And that this was the second time I’ve competed in the rodeo in San Antonio. But the ranch is fine, so I don’t know what I was doing there.

On top of that, my nephew is seven instead of five. And my sister isn’t pregnant like I remember. Her little girl is two years old. How can I forget my own niece? And my brother-in-law is nearing the end of his deployment in Afghanistan. I don’t even remember seeing him off.

I’m so frustrated. I can barely take a shower by myself. Getting dressed is a major accomplishment and when I eat, most of my food ends up in the floor. I’ve never had a beard, but I’m afraid if I try to shave myself, I might cut my own throat.

So mom hired Dad’s old therapist. Which makes me feel weak and useless and terrifies me that I’ll end up with the same disease Dad had. But with everything I’ve forgotten, I remember the one time I saw Lexie Parker. Maybe she can help me.

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My Story Title:   The Cowboy's Missing Memory

My Story Genre:  Contemporary Romance

My Story Releases:   August 2020

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The Author of My Story:    Shannon Vannatter

Award winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.

She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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Five copies of The Cowboy’s Missing Memory and five copies of my Western Collection two in one with Jill Lynn – Counting on the Cowboy and Her Texas Cowboy will be split among commentors. Winner’s will be revealed on Shannon’s Blog on July 15th.

Follow my blog tour for a chance to win:

Thursday, June 04, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Emily Strealer ~SPIES & SWEETHEARTS by Linda Shention Machett

Hello, everyone! My name is Emily Strealer, and I’m the youngest of three sisters. We were born and raised in the beautiful state of New Hampshire which borders Canada. As a result, I became interested in the French culture and language, eventually getting my degree in education with a minor in French. As a junior in college, I was blessed to be able to spend a semester in Paris, and I fell in love with the City of Lights. (Did you know the nickname came from the fact that this gorgeous city was one of the first metropoles to have electricity?)

My sisters Doris and Cora are a bit overbearing, and I spend much of my time while I was growing up trying to prove myself. Is that a problem for all youngest children? I wonder! After graduation, I started teaching in 1939, and things went well for a while. Then the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and our lives turned upside down. Many of my students enlisted as soon as they graduated the following June, and a few even secured permission to join up before they turned 18. Like everyone else in my small town, I did my bit for the war effort. I volunteered with the American Women’s Voluntary Service doing aircraft spotting and delivering messages. I also rolled bandages with my church group. I wanted to do more, but my family discouraged me from seeking other opportunities.

Then the craziest thing happened: I was accepted into a top secret government program called the Office of Strategic Services. Here’s how it happened:

I kept in touch with several of my college friends, some of whom are from what you might call the upper social strata. My family and I are poor, but we certainly don’t have the kind of money some of these folks do! Anyway, one of my friends contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in using my French skills for the war effort. Of course, I did! The interview and background check process seemed to take forever, but one day I came home from school to a telegram telling me to report in one week’s time. Because the organization was secretive, I didn’t find out where I was going until I arrived at a small, unassuming office in Maryland.

After weeks of training in everything from codes and ciphers to propaganda, communications, police methods, and disguise, I passed the course and two days later received my orders: I was to parachute into occupied France as a radio operator-a dangerous job with a life expectancy of six weeks. I was excited and terrified at the same time.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately) I was accompanied by one of my most difficult instructors, a rather handsome man named Gerard Lucas. It didn’t take us long to get embroiled in all sorts of trouble.

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My Story Genre:  Historical Romance

My Story Releases:    April 15, 2020

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The Author of My Story:    Linda Shenton Machett

Author Linda Shenton Machett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has lived in historic places all her life. She is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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

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

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Stories ~ Jake, Lola, Sam, & Arthur - by - Bonnie Engstrom Candy Cane Girl Series

Cast of canine characters from The Candy Cane Girls Series:
Jake from Connie’s Silver Shoes
Lola from Melanie’s Blue Skirt 
Sam from Melanie’s Ghosts 
Arthur from Doreen Finds Her Groove

The scene opens with the dogs arguing about which one is more important.
Why aren’t we in this last book about Natalie’s Red Dress? Jake the Miniature Pinscher cocked his head to one side. We are all on covers, except Sam who makes a cameo appearance in Melanie’s Ghosts. I have the biggest cover feature on Connie’s Silver Shoes!

Because we are in a lot of her other books, Mr. Smarty. Sam the Chihuahua snorted. Even I figured that out, he huffed. He picked up his yellow ball, ran to the top of the stairs and dropped it to watch it bounce.

No one wants to play with you, Sam, so ditch that idea, Lola sneered. And ditch that ratty ball, too. You have three others, all newer and nicer, not falling apart or smelling like your breath. She blinked her long lashes and raised her ruffled brows. Tilting her pointy snout up high she wiggled her rump, backed up as close to Sam as she could and whopped his nose with her whirling tail. Sam blinked but made no move.

What’s the matter, old man? Confused? Watch me. I’ll show you how to play. She grabbed her favorite toy and swung it dramatically. See, not hard. Aw forgot, you only have nineteen teeth. I have all of mine. She shook her huge ears and swishing her dainty bottom pranced away, tail still rotating in overdrive.

That wasn’t very nice, Lola, Arthur admonished her. Not ladylike, either. You should be kind and caring to your brother. You are younger.

Ha! As the elder he should be kinder to me. I think he’s losing it, getting a bit senile.

He does stare off into space sometimes, Jake said. But, you do, too.

That’s only when I’m hungry. Like when I do this.

Lola splayed on her tummy with her back paws spread and front ones under her chin. I do have a perfect princess look, don’t I?

Well, you are the only bitch of the four of us, Arthur noted. That makes you the minority. You always get the treats first. Not fair!

You guys scoop up the crumbles I drop when I deliberately leave them for Sam. My hearing is better, but your eyesight is better. So there! My luxurious eyebrows get in the way. Swinging her derrière again, she sauntered away with a princess swagger.

Now, can we please get on with the story? I think Natalie might finally find her true love. Lola sneered. With my help and intervention, of course. She needs the help of a princess. Maybe that kitty, Shooting Star, in Cindy’s story has an idea. Although I hate to admit it, cats are smart.

What about the big Maine Coon cat in A Penney from Heaven? Jake asked.

And the Golden Retriever in that meatloaf story? Arthur asked.

Don’t forget the cat in A Culinary Catch. The one named after a spice. Sam held his head high and gave a sharp bark.

Gosh, Sammy Boy, you have a better memory than I thought. Lola said. But your bark is piercing! Tone it down, okay?

I guess I’m smarter than you thought. But we are the only animals featured in the Candy Cane series. Except Shooting Star.

Guess we are demoted to second, third and fourth best. Jake grumbled. Let’s get on with Natalie’s story. I hope the poor girl finally finds love. Maybe the story in Natalie’s Red Dress will bring love to Natalie.
Jake, Sam and Arthur nodded and laid down on the sofa sighing.

Are you boys arguing again? So like the male gender!

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Six high school freshmen in Newport Beach, California formed a swim team that became legendary. They won the state relay swim championship four years in a row. In addition to their skill and devotion to daily practicing, they prayed together and vowed to be sisters forever. Another thing that set them apart was they chose their own swimsuits making them a team within a larger team. They chose red and white diagonally striped swim suits. Thus, became known as the Candy Canes. They always will be.

Noelle’s Christmas Wedding gave birth to a series, The Candy Cane Girls. Each book highlights one girl in particular, but all the girls and their families and friends are mentioned in every story because their lives are intertwined by a strong faith and strong friendships. Two decades later, some have married, two have children, one is pregnant with twins, one is a fashion designer, one is an international model, and Melanie is added to the group.

Woven into each story is a challenging social situation. Noelle barely escapes brutality and stalking; Cindy must decide if her love is strong enough to marry a man with a debilitating disease and a history of alcoholism; Candy faces her own dilemma with a man she divorced because of his emotional and alcohol problems – now that he is rehabilitated, should she marry him again? Connie falls in love with the “wrong” man, at least wrong in the lily-white environment of small town Newport Beach. Natalie is left hurting on the ground after an aborted sky dive and feels deceived by her instructor whose identity she doesn’t know. Melanie, the new girl in the group, is painfully lonely and seeks love by adopting a dog and joining an online dating site and she encounters the same situation Connie had.

Then tragedy strikes and changes her life. Can she live with the “ghosts” that haunt her? Doreen seems to live a charmed life as a renowned model, even with one leg shorter from the accident her now best friend caused. But while planning her wedding her fiancé gets a phone call that threatens their future. Natalie still longs for love and believes she has found it . . . until. Does the brother of one of her best friend’s truly love her? Whom can she believe? Him or the mystery man?

The Candy Cane Girls Series is nearing an end. The last story is Natalie’s. Natalie’s Red Dress is not completed, yet. Will Natalie find love? To help the author, please make suggestions. Here is a blurb about Natalie to help from Natalie’s Deception.
Lies, guilt, stalking. Natalie is injured and left lying on the ground.
Two handsome men vie for Natalie’s attention, traveling from Newport Beach to Scottsdale, Arizona to woo her. But one caused her back injury, and one strands her on the top of a Ferris Wheel knowing how terrified she is of heights, even though she took sky-diving lessons with him.
Will Natalie ever find love? She wants it badly, but is thrilled two Candy Canes are expecting babies. She will be an aunt again. But, when will she be a wife and mother?
Will a mystery man emerge from her past? Will she fall in love with a friend?

Natalie needs help. From you, Dear Readers. Share ideas in the comments. If your idea is chosen, you will have a cameo appearance in Natalie’s Red Dress and be thanked in the acknowledgements. You will also receive a signed copy of the book when it is published.

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Bonnie Engstrom will give away a signed copy of
Noelle’s Christmas Wedding, the first book in the Candy Cane Series to start you off.

A Women's Fiction/Romance novel

Please be sure to leave your email and your state when commenting.

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I wear two domestic hats, both super important to me. I am a wife to my psychologist husband, Dave ~ have been for almost 55 years ~ a real milestone for a shrink!

Shrinky Dave and I have three children and six grandchildren, which brings me to my other domestic chapeau.

I am a grandma! Actually, Grammy is my name. Fifteen years ago my friend Judy said, “Choose your name well. It’s what they will call you. Like forever.” I did, and I love it!

I am Grammy to six kids. Four near me in Arizona and two in Costa Rica on the beach. Pura Vida!

Nuff about me. Let’s move on.

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Purchasing links:

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Our Story BEFORE The Story ~ Miranda (Randee) and Ace ~

My name is Miranda Jareau, but I’ve adopted the nickname Randee for my latest covert assignment with Ace Steele. I always wanted to go into law enforcement, but an ATF agent (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) was the most natural choice, simply because I wanted more than anything to be like my dad. He was an ATF agent too—the very best. That’s no lie. No matter what the confidential files say, my dad didn’t make stupid mistakes. He wasn’t careless. In fact, Dad was the very opposite of careless—he was precise, meticulous and always on top of things. So, whatever went wrong the day he died, it wasn’t his fault. Dad’s death and his commitment to the job created a gaping relationship gap for he and my mother. For that reason, I understand her adamant refusal and attitude when I told her I’d joined the ATF. She’d lost one person she loved and didn’t want to lose another. I tried to please her by going to a different jurisdiction, but the ATF is home for me. Hopefully, she’ll forgive me and see I need to live my own life…someday.

Providing protective detail for PrimeRight Scientist, Ace Steele was like coming into my own. But no amount of training prepared me for the unexpected deadly twists and turns we would encounter while watching over his prototype, Ghost. The thing seemed to take on a life of its own. The pivotal factor I failed to consider was how Ace would affect me.

My name is Ace Steele. I spend my life comfortably hidden in a laboratory developing and creating. I’m the behind-the-scenes guy and I like it that way. My partner, Fritz Nelson, is Mr. Personality. The guy who scores new contracts and negotiates deals. We make a good team, and I trust him to handle the business end of things. I never imagined the life-threatening danger signing that government contract to create a completely plastic 3D printer gun would create. I love a challenge, but Ghost, that’s the name of the super top-secret prototype, was enough to make me rethink my career options. Still, I understand Ghost’s development is revolutionary, deadly, and a necessary means in the evolution of weapons. Staying ahead of the progressive curve means thinking like a criminal at times. I had plans to make the gun and hand it over to the ATF.

I never dreamed Ghost would take me on the ride of my life and introduce me to a woman who changed how I saw everything and everyone.

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My Story Releases:   MAY 5, 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.

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Get Connected

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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Sharee will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of

Be sure to leave an email address when  you comment, so we know where you can be reached, should you win.


Thursday, May 07, 2020


My Name is Thea Fenton and I am your average 16-year-old suburban teenager. I shouldn’t have a story to tell. From the outside, I look like most other girls. Average height, average weight, average number of pimples. Crazy mess of hair. Zero social status.

Up until this past fall, my life was mediocre at best. It actually kind of sucked. My grams died this past summer and without her presence in our home, our fragile family structure began to teeter and sway with each new mini-crisis. My parents fought constantly about finances and my dad’s ever-present grief. My brother stopped playing referee and instead put on the golden boy façade to ensure regular tuition infusions for university. I had friends, but my two besties had much more interesting things happening in their lives compared to my perpetual anxiety, which quite frankly, I was sick of talking about before I even started therapy. It was easier to deal with it on my own then to bother anyone else with it. So, I would run, or pretend to be someone else. And if that didn’t work, I would pull strands of hair from my head, until I could overpower the pain.

But then everything changed.

I thought it started with the story in the newspaper. The headline about a girl from my school who fell off a cliff. I was no stranger to panic attacks but reading that article sent me into a new state of fear that felt so surreal. It was more than just my body’s reaction to anxiety. Each experience left my world in blinding white light and an overpowering rush of noise.

That first time, I thought I was dying. But there was a voice from within the chaos of my mind. In that moment, something, or someone was fighting for me. I wasn’t getting better on my own, but the only person who could calm my fears was gone. Grams was my foundation. She was the only one who knew how to slow the beating in my chest, or quiet the arguments from outside and within.

Sometimes I let my memory linger on that last night we spent together. She said to me that I had a spirit in me. That pain could help me find it. I thought she meant physical pain. But hurting myself wasn’t solving anything. And I knew she wanted me to move past the pain. Not to live in it.

Then Khi appeared as though Grams knew the state of my heart and put in a special request for help. From the minute I met Khi, I felt at home. He saw through the outward veneer I tried to coat on each day. He saw the pain, but he didn’t stop there. He looked right through to the pain, to something deeper within me. He saw what my Grams knew was there all along - a small spark of light fighting to emerge.

I thought it started with the story in the newspaper, but there was a greater story planted in my heart long before the death of my classmate. That story already had an ending. My grams spent her last moments pouring out as much of that truth that she could. It was through her pain and death that I realized a greater story. One with an ending that would ignite my spark and allow it to spread to the one person I never thought I could love. I wanted to be part of the same story that gave Grams purpose within her pain. She passed through the pain. That is where my story really began.

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My Story Title:   Fade To White

My Story Genre:  Contemporary Inspirational YA

My Story Releases:   May 30, 2020

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The Author of My Story:    Tara Ross

Tara K. Ross lives with her husband, two daughters and rescued fur-baby in a field of cookie-cutter homes near Toronto, Canada. She works as a school speech-language pathologist and mentors with local youth programs. When Tara is not writing or reading all things young adult fiction, you can find her rock climbing the Ontario escarpment, planning her family's next jungle trek or podcasting at The Hope Prose Podcast.

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Get Connected:

  • You can follow Tara’s blog and writing journey at
  • Instagram @tara.k.ross

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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Tara K. Ross 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.