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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Interview with Karen

Where Hope Starts 

1.      Karen, how would you describe yourself to others?  Determined. A go getter. If I see something I want or needs to be done I do it. It may take me a bit to come around to a new way of thinking, but once I do I’m all in.

2.      How do you want others to see you? Strong and capable. Invulnerable. At least that’s the image I work to maintain. It’s the safe way to play it with most people. But there is more to me than that. My best friend Megan knows that part of me. She’s seen all my pitfalls and still loves me. That’s what friendship is all about. And of course, now that we’ve worked through so much, (smile) my husband, Barry, seems to love me in spite of my faults as well.

3.      What is the most interesting thing about you? I managed a 5 star restaurant in New York City.

4.      What things are of most importance to you? Faith and family.

5.      What type of man did you want to marry when you were younger? Did you find what you were looking for? I wanted to marry someone who would always listen to me and accept me. Unlike my dad did growing up. And yes, I found him. When I first met him, he was my knight in shining armor. And now that we’ve been through the rough patch you can read about in Where Hope Starts, our relationship is even better. It’s deeper and more solid.

6.      How do you face disappointments in your life? My first response is anger. Then I retreat from whatever is causing that hurt. After a while, I do tend to come around. Ultimately, I want to handle things the way God would have me to. I don’t always nail it, though.

7.      What type of things do you like to do for fun or entertainment? Horseback riding, for sure. I grew up with that. I also like to sit out in a field at night and watch the stars. It’s restful and after a busy day at the B & B, I need some quiet. When I’m hanging out with my friends I really enjoy going to the movies.

8.      Do you have any hobbies or special skills? I like to take pictures, but I’m not professional or anything. I am a great hostess, though. Stop by the Applewood Hill Bed and Breakfast and you’ll see. I try and make people feel at home when they’re away from home. I’ve made some great friends that way.  

9.      What is your main goal in life? What do you hope to accomplish? I want to run the best B&B around, have kids and enjoy my marriage.

10.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? (laugh) That’s easy. Be more even tempered. And be quicker to take God at his word.

Find Angela: 
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Angela is giving away one of her books to some lucky person commenting on this interview and answering the question below. Sorry U.S. residents only, and you must leave your email address to enter so we can contact you. Being a follower of the blog will earn one extra entry.

Question: What are the most important characteristics in your mind to look for in a husband.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary and one entry per post plus one extra for being a follower of the blog. Winner will be selected next week-end and posted here on Monday, April 28. You must be 18 or older to enter. Remember to leave your email address for contacting you in case of win.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Angela Meyer Review

Where Hope Starts

Karen Marino has a dream job in the Big Apple and a husband, but in one fell swoop she loses her job and her marriage crumbles. Disappointed, and in a need to get away, she returns to her hometown where she finds more questions and problems then answers and solutions. Barry, her husband left behind in New York, is devastated to lose Karen, but has no clue what to do to resolve the issues they face.

With heartfelt emotion, Angela Meyer gives us a couple desperately seeking answers but finding more questions and doubts until a friend and a brother show them the way home. That journey is one of learning to forgive and admitting ones faults. The story will tug at your heart and keep you turning the pages to journey with Karen and Barry to renewed love.

Back Cover Blurb
Karen Marino's life is a nightmare. The New York City restaurant manager is a professional success, but her marriage is in shambles. When her husband, Barry shows up drunk at her restaurant, she loses both. She flees The Big Apple and returns to her Midwestern home to sort through her options. But instead of answers, she finds an old boyfriend ready to rekindle romance, a family full of secrets and an angry brother bent on revenge. Still in New York, Barry fights his own demons. He knows he has made a mess of his life, but is powerless to stop his rage and addictions. A fist-fight lands him in jail and forces him to face the possibility of a future behind bars. Karen knows holding onto her bitterness won't repair her marriage. But how do you forgive someone when you don't feel like it? As she searches for the answer, she uncovers the family secret that threatens to tear them all apart. Can she find her way back to the place Where Hope Starts?

Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now a Marine. She taught Bible class for over 35 years and served for almost three years on the leadership team of her local Christian writers group. Her debut novel, Where Hope Starts, is a finalist in the Grace Awards. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela
Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/Nxrsz

Angela will be sending a copy of her book to some lucky reader with a comment on the blog this week. You must leave your email address to be in the drawing for the book.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary and one entry per post plus one extra for being a follower of the blog. Winner will be selected next week-end and posted here on Monday, April 21. You must be 18 or older to enter. Remember to leave your email address for contacting you in case of win.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Preacher’s Bride Claim

AN INTERVIEW WITH ALICE HAWTHORNE
 

We're speaking to Alice Hawthorne today, on the eve of her wedding to Elijah Thornton, pastor of the soon-to-be built church of Brave Rock, Oklahoma, one of dozens of new communities that were birthed on April 22, 1889, the day that a large section of the Oklahoma Territory was opened for settlement.

--Miss Hawthorne, how would you describe the experience of taking place in the first land rush to settle a large section of the Oklahoma Territory?
   Alice Hawthorne: Exciting! And terrifying too, of course. How could it not be, with all of us waiting for days—some for weeks—in settlements along the border of the land to be settled, just waiting for noon on April 22, and the rifle shot that would signal a free-for-all scramble for choice plots of land. It was unprecedented— a hundred and sixty-four acres of land for free, and all one had to do to claim it was be the first to plant a stake in the land—and then, hold it against all comers. You cannot imagine the pandemonium that ensued when the rifle shot came at noon, with people taking off in wagons, on horseback, on bicycles, and even on foot to be the first to claim the land.
--Was it dangerous?
   Alice: Of course! There were many incidents of wagons collapsing or overturning, of horses falling, and of course, always the possibility that the unscrupulous among us would use any means, fair or foul, to steal the land plots they wanted.
--There were unscrupulous people among the would-be homesteaders?
Alice: Oh yes, of course. Any time you have that many varied kinds of people together, you will have some bad people, I suppose, but one doesn't expect those who are assigned to protect us to be among them. But I must say no more about this, because the matter is still being settled.
--Did you have a particular location of land to settle on in mind, Miss Hawthorne?
  Alice: Yes. Before the day of the Land Rush, several of us had become close in Boomer Town, which was the name for our temporary section along the border while we waited. Led by my soon-to-be husband, Elijah Thornton, we had started a temporary tent church which will, Lord willing, soon become a permanent church in Brave Rock. We were advised of a particularly choice piece of land along the Cimarron River by one of our members, a Danish man named Lars Brinkerhoff, who had lived among the Cheyenne Indians, and so we made for that point. I am happy to say we were able to reach Brave Rock, as we are calling the settlement because of the boulder that juts out above the river, first and stake our claim
--And tomorrow you are to become the bride of Reverend Elijah Thornton, Brave Rock's church's pastor.
   Alice (blushing): Yes, tomorrow. Of course, it will only be simple ceremony in the middle of the meadow, since we have not had time to build the church yet—housing for the settlers must come first, naturally, but I trust it will be a lovely ceremony all the same.
--You look very happy and in love, Miss Hawthorne. Can you tell us how you and your husband to be met?
   Alice:I came to Elijah's tent church in Boomer Town, before the Land Rush.
--And it was love at first sight?
   Alice Hawthorne (blushing again): I don't know what Elijah would say, but it certainly was for me, although meeting the man I would one day marry was the last thing on my mind that day. I just wanted to come and worship the Lord, and lay out all my troubles in front of Him. But Elijah was determined to meet me, and so we met. He is a determined man, and once he decides upon something, he goes after it…
--Why was looking for a husband the last thing on your mind, Miss Hawthorne, if you don't mind my asking? With a handsome bachelor preacher present, surely that would be the first thing on many young women's minds.
    Alice Hawthorne: Yes, but my independence has always been important to me, and I had decided never to marry. At the time I was fleeing from a…shall we say "unhappy relationship?"
--Would you care to elaborate, Miss Hawthorne?
    Alice: (sighing) I suppose it is safe at this point, though I will not give the gentleman's name. Back East I had been courted by a rich and powerful, and unfortunately, unscrupulous and possessive man. In coming to the Oklahoma Territory I had hoped to leave this man and his influence behind forever, and have my own land which I would farm and provide a home for my aged mother. I will not go into details, but let me just say that the man I refer to is no longer a threat to my happiness.
--Excellent. Back to happier subject, how did your romance with the Reverend Elijah Thornton develop?
     Alice (smiling again): I had been a nurse back East, and I assumed my nursing days were over, now that I was about to become a homesteader. But Elijah felt there were many unmet medical needs in Boomer Town, and persuaded me to accompany him on rounds around the tent city to visit those who were ill and injured. While he prayed for them and strove to meet their spiritual needs, I ministered to their medical needs. One of the first people we were able to help is our present deacon, Keith Gilbert. He was gravely injured due to an ax wound to the leg, and would have bled to death from it without our medical intervention and of course, the help of the Lord to heal him.
--And will you put your medical training to use in the new community of Brave Rock, Miss Hawthorne?
      Alice; Yes, we plan to build a clinic next to our house, near the Brave Rock church, where the settlers can come for treatment of illnesses and injuries—with the Lord's help, of course. I'm not sure why I ever wanted to leave my profession behind.
--You speak of God often, Miss Hawthorne.
      Alice (smiling): Of course. How could I not? He has blessed me so much, bringing me safely to Oklahoma, with providing me with a new home and tomorrow, a husband.
--I promised we would keep the interview brief because of your wedding tomorrow—a bride must get her beauty sleep, after all. Andd so we will thank you for speaking to us and giving us a glimpse into the exciting life of a new settler in the Oklahoma Territory. Is there anything further you would like to tell our readers?
Alice: Yes, I would like to say that Elijah's and my story, chronicled in THE PREACHER'S BRIDE CHOICE, is but the beginning of the story. In May, author Karen Kirst will continue the saga in THE HORSEMAN'S FRONTIER FAMILY, and in June, author Allie Pleiter will conclude the trilogy with THE LAWMAN'S OKLAHOMA SWEETHEART. All the books are published by Love Inspired Historicals. I hope you will read and enjoy all three of these exciting books about the settling of Oklahoma.


Note from Martha: I just finished reading this novel and loved it. I'm really looking forward to reading the next two in the series. You'll really enjoy how the town rallies around Alice and keeps her from making a horrible mistake stemming from her past the night before the land rush begins.  
 Laura will be giving away a copy of her book to some lucky person. Answer the question below and leave your email address with your comment to be in the drawing.

Would you have been as brave as Alice and set out to participate in the land rush alone?


Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary. Winner will be selected next week-end and posted here on Monday, April 21. You must be 18 or older to enter. Remember to leave your email address for contacting you in case of win. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Preacher's Bride Claim


An Excerpt from the novel:


April 1, 1889-Boomer Town, Oklahoma Territory

     Alice Hawthorne sat down quietly on an empty bench in the back of the tent church. She'd waited until the little congregation was absorbed in singing "Shall We Gather at the River?" so she could steal in unnoticed. There was a family of six on the long bench ahead of her, but none of them paid any attention to her arrival-except for the shortest of the four stair-step boys. He looked over his shoulder at her, his face full of freckles, a cowlick at the back of his shaggy thatch of hair. When he noticed Alice was watching, he gave her a cheerful, gap-toothed grin. Despite the anxiety constricting her heart like a coiled snake, it was such a comical sight that she couldn't help but smile back.
     "You turn around this instant, Otis Beauregard LeMaster," his mother hissed at him, without looking to see what or who had distracted her youngest. The boy obediently did so, and Alice was once again alone.
     That suited Alice just fine. She hoped to continue to be overlooked among the inhabitants of the tent city as much as possible until the day of the Land Rush, after she had claimed her own 160-acre homestead. Her own and her mother's, she reminded herself.
     It was the first of April. Just twenty-one days until the Unassigned Lands-the lands not claimed by one of the many Indian tribes that now called the Oklahoma Territory home-were opened for settlement by the Indian Appropriations Act signed by President Cleveland. His successor, Benjamin Harrison, had designated noon on April 22 as the moment the settlers could rush in, plant their stakes at the claims of their choice and become real homesteaders.
     She'd be safe then, wouldn't she?
    He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust… She remembered the verse from childhood, and it comforted her now when she felt like a terrified little bird fleeing from a hunter. Her fear was the reason she had come to the chapel service, to be reminded of God's love and protection.
     As the hymn ended, so did her comfortable solitude. With a rustle of skirts, two women plopped themselves down to her left. Alice kept her gaze aimed at the front and hoped they would leave her alone. She had not been an unsociable person before she'd fled New York, but now, she feared each introduction.
     The woman next to her didn't take the hint. "Hey, you're new here, ain't ya?" she asked, smiling in a friendly fashion, which revealed incisors that would have done a jackrabbit proud. "Don't believe we've met before. I'm Carrie Ferguson, and this here's my sister, Cordelia."
If she hadn't said they were sisters, Alice would have guessed it, for the two women at her left were so similar-looking with their sun-weathered long faces, noses so sharp they could slice cheese, the same teeth.
     "N-nice to meet you," Alice managed to say. "I'm-" She thought about using an assumed name, but how could she lie-especially in a church, even one of canvas? "I'm Alice Hawthorne." Hopefully the two women would forget the name-easy to do in a temporary city populated by hundreds of people, with more coming every day.
     "Been in Boomer Town long?" Cordelia asked.
     If only the service would start, Alice fretted. She didn't want to answer a bunch of questions. But now that the hymn had concluded, the tall man who may be the preacher was talking to a middle-aged couple up front, and he seemed to be in no hurry.
     Alice managed a small smile. "Just since yesterday."
     "Where ya from? We hail from St. Louis."
     "B-back East," Alice said and prayed they would let it go at that. She wasn't looking to make friends. Each person she gave her name to was one more person who could help Maxwell Peterson find her. And if he did, it would mean the end of her dreams.

                                                             
Laurie Kingery is a central Ohio author and veteran E.R. RN who has written twenty-six  historical romances, first as Laurie Grant and now writing Christian historicals under her own name for Love Inspired Historicals. She won the National Reader's Choice for short historicals in 1994 and was a finalist in the 2010 Carol Awards in short historicals by the American Christian Fiction Writers for THE OUTLAW'S LADY. Her website is http://www.lauriekingery.com. Her latest release is the first book in the "Bridegroom Brothers" continuity series for Love Inspired Historicals, THE PREACHER'S BRIDE CHOICE.  The next installment in the "Brides of Simpson Creek" series from Love Inspired Historicals is A HERO IN THE MAKING, out in July 2014.

If you enjoyed this brief excerpt from Laura's new release, leave a comment about it below and be eligible for a drawing for a free copy. Then come back tomorrow to learn more about Alice.
Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary and only one entry per post. You must be 18 or older to enter. Remember to leave your email address for contacting you in case of win.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Meet Annie Rollins

Interview with Heroine 
Annie Rollins of An Unconventional Lady by Cynthia Hickey
1.                  How would you describe yourself to others? Despite my mother’s attempts to the contrary, I’m a modern woman. After all, with the turn of the century, so many opportunities are open to women.

2.                  How did you and the hero meet? He took the job I created for myself. Because I’m a woman, Mother felt I couldn’t do the job properly and hired Dakota as a trail guide.

3.                  What was your first impression of him? I was pretty angry at first, but I soon realized the handsome guide had no idea he was stepping on my toes. I fully expected him to back down once he found out, but then he sided with Mother.

4.                  How do you want him to see you? As a fully capable, modern woman. Instead, he saw me as one of the Harvey waitresses. It’s very frustrating.

5.                  Were you planning on romance entering your life? I had planned on romance at some point in my life, but Dakota had a way of worming his way into my life and my heart.

6.                  What things are of most importance to you in a relationship with someone you love? Honesty, full trust and respectability. I wanted a man who treated me as an equal rather than a helpless female.

7.                  What are your hopes for your relationship with the hero? That he would see me as capable as he at many tasks.

8.                  How do face disappointments in your life? I tend to stomp my feet and argue until I see reasoning.

9.                  What do you want the hero to see in you that he may not see now? That I strive to let God hold the reins in my life. After all, God sees the big picture where I often can’t.

10.              What is your main goal in life? What do you hope to accomplish? I want to be a modern business woman. Times are changing. I can see my future rising on the horizon of a new age.

11.              If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My stubbornness. But God and I are working on it. Sometimes, I feel God throws his arms up at my antics. Thankfully, He loves me anyway.

Blurb from An Unconventional Lady

ANNIE ROLLINS LONGS FOR ADVENTURE 
But her strict mother keeps her close to home, working as a Harvey Girl waitress. Until Dallas Baker shows up in town and takes the job Annie really wants—leading tours through the Grand Canyon. Annie's frustrated, but finds it impossible to ignore the handsome outdoorsman. 
With her split skirts and modern hairdo, Annie challenges Dallas's old-fashioned notions of what makes a lady. To his surprise, he finds her delightful, until he learns she has no interest in settling down. Dallas is ready to win her heart, but is Annie willing to fall in love? 



Answer the question below and leave a comment for an opportunity to be in a drawing for the novel. Be sure to leave your email address for contacting. Following this blog will earn you an extra entry.
Question: The 1940's and WWII brought about great changes for women in the military and in jobs. With her independent nature and modern outlook for women, where would a woman like Annie Rollins fit in the jobs available for women after 194?

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary and only one entry per post. Winner will be selected next week-end and posted here on Monday, April 14. You must be 18 or older to enter. Remember to leave your email address for contacting you in case of win.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Book Review

An Unconventional Lady

Set against the beauty of Arizona and the Grand Canyon, An Unconventional Lady is a story that will have you shaking your head and wondering about how two people could be so different. Annie Rollins' independent nature sets her heart on being a tour guide at the beautiful Grand Canyon, but her mother has other ideas and signs Annie up to be a Harvey Girl.  To add insult to injury, Mrs. Rollins hires Dallas Baker to be the guide for the tours. With Annie’s ideas that go against all tradition, and Dallas’s ideas of what a woman’s role should be, sparks do fly with dialogue and situations that will raise a chuckle as they race headlong into romance. The question is whose ideas will change first. Have fun reading as you find out.


Getting to know Cynthia Hickey:
Multi-published author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries published through Barbour Publishing, with a novella releasing in March 2013. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013 and 2014 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com

Cynthia will be giving away a copy of this delightful book to some lucky person leaving a comment on this blog with an extra entry going to those who are followers. Enter once today then come back tomorrow or later in the week to read an interview with Annie Rollins and earn another chance at the book. Winners will be randomly selected Sunday, April 13 and announced on this blog on Monday, April 14.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary and only one entry per post plus one more for followers.  You must be 18 or older to enter. Remember to leave your email address for contacting you in case of win.
  


Friday, April 04, 2014

Marriage Takes Three

Interview with Darla Connor

Today we have the honor of talking with Darla, the heroine and wife of the novel Marriage Takes Three
Welcome, Darla.
 
1.  How would you describe yourself to others?
Emotionally, I’d describe myself as troubled, but I do a fair job of concealing it from those I love. Physically, I imagine others see me as the stereotypical “beautiful blonde,” who must have it all together. Ha!

2.  How did you and the hero meet?
My husband and I met seventeen years ago, in a department store. I worked as a sales clerk, so I volunteered an opinion on a dress shirt he was eyeing. I suggested he choose a color that complimented his dark hair and eyes, and I’ve been helping him ever since.

3.  What was your first impression of him?
He seemed lost, like a little boy without his mommy. That might sound odd, but we were both in our early twenties when we met, and my parents had been killed when I was a teenager, so that perception tugged on my heart

4.  How do you want him to see you?
 I’d like my husband to see me in love with him just like the day I said “I do.” Lately, everything I have done seems like a contradiction.

5. Were you planning on romance entering your life? That’s a difficult question to answer because I met my future husband on the heels of a breakup. So, I’d have to say no, I didn’t see romance in my immediate future.

6.  What things are of most importance to you in a relationship with someone you love? The top-ten list of what’s important to me in a relationship…I would say the number one thing is good communication. I’ve learned that the hard way.

7.  What are your hopes for your relationship with the hero? My hope for my marriage is not only that it can survive the years of neglect (we allowed through passivity), but that it will thrive and be a marriage my son can proudly use as an example. However, if it’s not to be, I hope my husband and I choose to put our teenage son first.

8. How do you face disappointments in your life? When disappointments come my way, and trust me, I’ve had more than my share…I remind myself that it could be worse. A dear friend pointed out recently; there are a lot of people facing challenges greater than mine.

9.    What do you want the hero to see in you that he may not see now? I want him to see that the things I do are not intended to hurt him, but to help him.

10.  What is your main goal in life? What do you hope to accomplish? My main goal in life is to love myself (as cliché as that may sound). I believe genuinely loving myself, would impact all my relationships in a healthy way, which is what I want… especially for my son.


11.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be a better listener overall, but particularly in heated conversations. In those instances, I’m often just waiting for an opportunity to “speak my peace” versus trying to understand where the other person is coming from then responding appropriately. 

G.E. (Ginny) Hamlin is giving away a copy of her book to some lucky reader. Please answer the question below in your comment and be sure to include your email address. Being a follower of this blog will give you an extra entry. Let me know if you are a follower.

Darla and Randall learn how marriage really does take three to make a marriage what God intended it be. Besides the spiritual aspect, what are some other traits or characteristics of a good, solid, happy marriage?

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary and only one entry per post. Winner will be selected next week-end and posted here on Monday, April 7. You must be 18 or older to enter. Remember to leave your email address for contacting you in case of win.