SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: A Convenient Risk Series

A Convenient Risk was inspired by…believe it or not…an unplanned trip to a cemetery. I have a writer friend that is my conference buddy. We go to writers’ conference together. Well, we were on such a conference trip when I discovered that she likes to visit cemeteries (she is a history fan, like I am…well, maybe not just the same as me). I conceded a trip during the daytime. We found many interesting things. And our writer-brains went into overdrive.

We did find one set of stones that indicated a younger woman who married a man much older than she, he died, then she married a man closer to her own age (who then died some time later…not really relevant information). But it got me thinking of second marriages. This situation in the cemetery might have been an arranged first marriage (it was the early 1900s), then when her husband died, perhaps she married her sweetheart.

At any rate, I thought about how people tend to memorialize our loved ones who have passed on. Not that it’s bad…but we do tend to gloss over their flaws and only remember the good things. How does a second marriage partner compete with “perfect memories” from a first spouse. Especially if you’re not truly remembering the whole picture. Some more considering on these lines, throw in the complications of a marriage of convenience…and this story was born.

Some of you who follow my work, may or may not realize that I “marry” my fictional stories to something solid in history. So, what to connect this story to? What if I complicated the story further with a legendary American outlaw? So, Billy the Kid (during the time of this story, known as Kid Antrim) plays a role in this story. These elements went into the blender of my mind and this is what was spit out…

A Convenient Risk

A widow with a young son is in trouble.

Amanda Haynes must put aside her grief and do something to take care of her son. Marrying a struggling rancher who wants her dead husband’s herd appears to be her only choice.

Only…she’s never going to love again. No one can replace the only man that ever loved her.

Butting heads over managing the ranch, her frustrations seem insurmountable. What has she gotten herself into? Is there any way out?

You’ll never put down this marriage of convenience romance, because everyone has hope.

Video Teaser

Enjoy an Excerpt

The bull continued to eye Amanda. She rose to her feet with slow movements. Was it her imagination or did the bull tilt its head?

Should she run? Glancing the fence line out of the corner of her eye, she noted the distance that fell between her and her destination. She would never make it.

The large animal nodded its head, up and down, up and down, its horns rather prominently displayed. And the warmth drained from Amanda’s body.

Then the bull looked past her. Somewhere into the distance. Why?

Straining her ears, she heard it—hoof beats—slowing as they approached. Dare she turn to see who was brave enough to come to her rescue?

“Do not move,” a calm voice said.

Brandon! Relief poured through her. He would know what to do, wouldn’t he?

The calf continued to screech. And though it tugged at her heart, she could do nothing to help the injured animal.

Brandon was near. She could sense it. And he continued to inch his horse forward. The thumping of the horse’s hooves on the grass allowed her to track the mare’s location.

The bull flicked his tail back and forth, but kept watching her.

Warmth now emanated from the horse’s body as Brandon pulled up next to her.

Brandon spoke, his words coming as if chosen with care. “I’m going to take off my shirt…”

What? What was he doing? Why would he take off his shirt? Her heart raced. Still, she had no choice but to trust him.

In her periphery, she saw movement as Brandon unbuttoned his shirt and slid it off.

“Raise your right arm to me. I’m going to lift you onto the horse and then I need you to hold on to me. Tight.”

Licking her lips, she nodded. Would she be able to do this? Then she closed her eyes. She had to.

“Are you ready?” His voice was calm. Too calm.

Amanda opened her eyes. “Yes.” Would she survive this? With a shaky hand, she raised her arm closest to him.

The bull snorted.

A strong arm grasped her, catching her upper arm and dragging her onto the horse. As soon as she was solidly on the animal, she grabbed ahold of Brandon as tightly as she could.

They took off. The bull pawed at the ground, making all manner of grunting noises, but as if by some miracle, he ran off to the left. All of this happened as if time had slowed.

The horse continued to push forward. And as they neared the edge of the fence, Brandon urged the horse to go even faster. Were they going to break through? What would happen to the cattle with the fence destroyed?

But as they approached the fence, the horse leapt. Amanda gripped Brandon impossibly tighter. Jolted when the horse landed, her teeth chattered.

Only then did Brandon slow the horse. He then placed a hand on her upper arm and pushed.

She released him.

He sucked in a deep breath and expelled it.

Had she been holding him too tightly? Her face warmed.

He took hold of her shoulders. “Are you all right?”

She nodded, and though their faces were but a breath apart, she was not quite able to meet his eyes, fighting tears in her own. Only then she found herself staring at his bare chest. Jerking her head away, she averted her gaze.

“Do you realize what could have happened?” His voice rose.

She nodded, still not able to meet his eyes. The force of his emotion hit her. Was he so concerned after her?

“I would have had to shoot that bull.”

What? Eyes wide, she tilted her face up to look at him.

“That bull is worth half my herd.”

So he was only worried about the cattle. Not her. His precious cattle.

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Now, An Inconvenient Christmas is, as I call it, a “companion” novella. Kind of a sequel, but not in the traditional sense. Yes, it occurs after the first book, but not like I left a cliff-hanger. I picked up a thread in the book that could have been developed further and went with it for this Christmas novella…

An Inconvenient Christmas

***SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES***

A companion novella to “A Convenient Risk”

Brandon and Amanda are ready for their “Happily Ever After”. This Christmas will be a time to share with their little family and maybe experience some much needed peace on earth.

That’s when the letter comes. And everything is turned upside-down. Nothing is as it should be and tensions mount. Will they make it through this holiday season unscathed? Or will they be torn apart by the time Christmas Day comes?

Video Teaser

***SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES***

Enjoy an Excerpt

***SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES***

Amanda Miller tied another red ribbon into a bow on the fireplace mantle. Hopefully she was nearing the end. As much as she loved decorating, it could become tedious.

Hands slid around her waist, and she was pulled against a strong chest. Her husband’s masculine scent filled her nostrils, and she leaned into him. How had she become so blessed?

He planted a kiss to the side of her face. “Any chance we can slip away?”

She turned her head to peer at him. Was he serious?

A playful gleam in his eye answered her unspoken question.

Her lips tugged upward. How she loved this man! Laying hands atop his on her stomach, she relished the feel of him. His strong arms and secure hands were well known to her. Worked by ranch life, they were capable and calloused. Yet gentle as well.

“Momma,” a little voice called from across the room.

Pulled from her reverie, Amanda’s attention fixed on the small girl toddling toward them.

Reluctantly, she pulled free of Brandon’s embrace and, squatting, put arms out to receive the girl. “That’s it, come to Momma.”

“Momma.”

It didn’t matter that Louise said the word a million times a day; it was glorious.

A grin broke out across the child’s face, creating dimples in her chubby cheeks.

The wriggling bundle, teetering with every step, somehow made it to Amanda’s outstretched hands before falling.

She lifted her daughter, swinging her into the air and kissing the baby-fine skin. When she stopped, she caught Brandon’s eye.

“I see you’ve forgiven her for saying ‘Daddy’ first.” He reached forth a hand for Louise to capture it.

She did, pulling at his fingers.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Amanda spoke to Brandon, but she looked at Louise and spoke in a sing-song voice. “Do we, Louise Ann? We don’t know what Daddy is saying.”

“Oh, Louise knows good and well.”

The child grinned and pulled two of Brandon’s fingers into her mouth.

He jerked them back with a catch in his breath.

“Oh, no!” Amanda became instantly concerned. “Did she bite you?”

Brandon looked at his hand and nodded. “It’s not so bad.”

“I’m sorry. I think she has teeth coming in. She’s been biting everything.”

His brows furrowed, and he let out a concerned grunt.

“Yesterday, Samuel brought Daisy closer so Louise could pet her. And what we thought was going to be a kiss from Louise turned out to be an attempt to bite the poor dog’s ear.”

A chuckle escaped Brandon. Was it something to laugh about?

“It wasn’t funny.” She widened her eyes. “The dog could have been hurt.”

He cleared his throat and tightened his mouth. “No, of course.”

Amanda shifted Louise to her other hip. “I don’t want her to become a biter.”

Brandon furrowed his brows and let out a long breath.

Amanda fingered the curls in the child’s soft hair.

“Let’s not jump to that while she is still teething. But we can watch out and make sure she doesn’t hurt anyone.”

Was that truly all they could do? What more would she suggest? Perhaps Brandon was right.

“After all, she comes by that feistiness pretty honest. It’s one of her mother’s more…intriguing qualities.” His voice was husky as he put an arm around her, drawing her near.

Amanda’s head cleared of all but him. She was helpless when he spoke to her like this.

He pressed a kiss to her forehead, his breath lingering on her skin.

The door opened, and Louise wriggled for freedom, but Amanda didn’t let her escape.

“Aw, Ma, do ya have to?”

Amanda spun toward Samuel. Where had he been? Shouldn’t he have been helping her with the decorations? She opened her mouth.

“Did you finish with the horses?” Brandon’s chest vibrated as he spoke.

The horses? What did Brandon have Samuel doing with the horses?

“Sure did.” Samuel grinned.

Amanda clamped her mouth shut. She would not disrespect Brandon in front of her son, but this was not over.

“Good. I think Cutie and Slim are going fishing.”

Samuel’s eyes lit up. His gaze shifted toward Amanda.

“Go on.” She pulled away from Brandon and set Louise on the floor with her blocks. “You don’t want to miss them.”

A clapping of the door on its hinges was his only response.

Standing, she eyed Brandon, brow raised.

He tilted his head. “What?”

“You have him working with the horses?”

“It’s good for him.”

“That’s what you said about mucking stalls.”

“Was I wrong?”

Amanda crossed her arms. Dare she concede? Could she not? Why did she want to keep her boy close to her skirts? Why must Brandon constantly be pushing him further away?

Reaching out, he pulled her toward his chest. “You know I’m right.”

She looked away and bit at her lip. “Maybe.”

He hooked her chin with a finger. “Probably.”

Her lips twinged at the edges. She fought the smile. “Don’t push it.”

His mouth curved upward, but his brown eyes rested on her lips. “I might just take the risk.” Leaning forward, he pressed his lips to hers.

Would she ever become numb to this feeling? This excitement, this heat coursing through her? Or would his kisses thrill her for as long as they both should live?

She hoped so.

His arms wrapped around her back, and he tilted his head to deepen the contact.

But after a few moments of bliss, she pulled back.

Brandon traced a finger down the side of her face. “Is it time for Louise’s nap?”

If only…

No, she couldn’t get distracted.

“I’m afraid not. And I need to talk to you.” She drew farther back.

“Oh?” He watched her every movement.

She glanced at Louise. Had she caught hold of something dangerous? There was no end to the child’s mischief.

The small girl sat where Amanda had set her. For once.

Amanda reached for the box of ornaments, picking it up and, moving toward the dining space, placing it on the table.

“Everything all right?” Brandon called from where he had remained.

She pushed her hair back and sighed. How to broach the subject? Why was she so nervous? Couldn’t she tell Brandon anything?

She turned toward him and leaned against the table.

“I know that look.” His brows furrowed.

What look? How did she look? Did her features display her worry? Her trepidation? It would be best to just be out with it.

Drawing in a deep breath, she closed her eyes briefly and then met his gaze. “Cook and Uncle Owen won’t be coming for Christmas.”

“Oh.” He set his hands on his hips. “That’s not at all what I expected. But it is their first Christmas as man and wife.”

Amanda nodded.

“But that can’t be what has you so worried.” He crossed the room, closing the distance between them.

She chewed on her lip.

“What is it?” His eyes were caring. Concerned.

Guilt filled her. She had to tell him.

“Are you nervous about making the big meal alone?”

Her eyes widened. That had not occurred to her.

“Oh, no.” He gently clasped her arms. “Forget I said that. I’ll help. Anyway I can.”

She waved a hand between them. It wouldn’t be easy, but she would manage. “It’s not that.”

“Then what is it?” He rubbed his larger hands along her upper arms.

“A letter came.”

“A letter?”

She reached into the pocket of her apron and pulled out the lightly crinkled envelope. “From your parents.”

Brandon’s jaw clamped shut. She watched as the muscles twitched.

How long had it been since he had heard from his parents? Years? Decades? And all of a sudden a letter comes? Why now?

“When?”

“About two hours ago. While you were…”

He nodded. “Out with the cattle.”

She searched his face, holding the envelope between them, ready for him to take it.

But he just stared at it.

“Did you read it?” His eyes met hers, and there was a darkness to their depths she had not seen in a long time.

“No.” She pushed the word out.

His hands on her arms had grown limp.

Should she insist he take the letter? Or offer to read it for him? Was this something he needed to do?

Louise let out a cry.

Amanda looked in her direction. There was a block in her hand that was well wet.

Louise broke out in fierce tears.

Had she been chewing on the block and hurt her gums? Or bitten her finger by accident?

Amanda glanced at Brandon, pushing the letter toward him. She could no longer give him time to think.

Brandon stood, holding out his hand with the envelope.

She rushed to Louise and picked her up. The child immediately snuggled into Amanda’s chest, her cries now muffled by Amanda’s shoulder.

Amanda rubbed her back. “It’s all right, sweet girl.”

As the crying let up, she shifted the child to her hip and examined her fingers.

“What happened? Did you bite your finger?”

Sure enough, there was a reddened place on the forefinger of her right hand.

“Oh, my baby!” Amanda put a light kiss on the tiny finger. “There. All better.”

Louise looked at her finger and then at Amanda. Her cries waned as if she wasn’t sure what to do. But they soon vanished as the small girl stuck her finger toward Amanda’s mouth again.

“Momma kiss.”

Amanda grabbed her little hand and pressed several kisses to the finger. “Yes, Momma kiss it. Make it all better.”

Louise giggled.

Then Louise stuck her hand in the direction of the dining room. “Daddy kiss!”

Amanda spun toward Brandon.

He stood just as she had left him, staring at the unopened letter.

She moved toward him. Drawing close, she put a hand on his shoulder. “Do you need some time alone?”

Shaking his head, he met her gaze. “No, I need you.”

What could she do? What could she offer him? She stopped herself. That was the old Amanda. He needed her support. Her love.

“And I am right here with you.”

He nodded.

She reached for a dining chair and pulled it out.

Brandon all but fell into it.

Grabbing for the chair next to him, she sat with Louise on her lap.

His eyes met hers, and she nodded.

He slid a finger under the flap and tore through the seal.

Freeing a hand, she squeezed his arm in reassurance.

Pulling the papers free, he unfolded them. His eyes drifted over the writing.

He let out a long breath.

“It’s not possible.”

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More About the Author

I’m a coffee lovin’, word slinging, Historical Romance author who’s super power is converting caffeine into novels. I love those odd little tidbits of history that are stranger than fiction. That’s what inspires me. Well, that and a good love story.

But of all the love stories I know, mine is my favorite. I live happily with my own Prince Charming and our gaggle of minions. Three to be exact. They sure know how to distract a writer! But, alas, the stories must be written, even if it must happen in the wee hours of the morning.

Happy Reading!

Connect with me and my books

Website: saraturnquist.com

Twitter: @sarat1701

Facebook: AuthorSaraRTurnquist

Pinterest: SaraVTurnquist

Instagram: @sarat0103

YouTube: Sara Turnquist

GIVEAWAY!!

I will select, by Rafflecopter, a winner who will receive e-copies of both books in the series. I will also select a second winner who will get a $10 Amazon gift card. They will be selected from the same Rafflecopter entry board. Please follow the directions indicated below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OVERCOMING MYSELF: The over-planner in me

Ever feel like you’ve got too many plates spinning? Then you think…I just need to get organized! And, down the road, you get a little more organized, and a little more… No? Just me?

Anyone ever feel like your organization is causing you to be overwhelmed?

It was for me. I am uber-organized. And I mean it! It’s not a bad thing…until you take it to extremes.

I had/have the perfect planner, the right binders (yes, you heard me right binderS) to organize all the major areas of my life – social media and blogging, home life, writing and research…you name it!

The planner…oh my word…my planner! I got onto the downloadable planner concept…where I could take what I liked from here, or there, add my own created sheets when I couldn’t find quite the one I was looking for, then take the thing to an Office place and have them spiral bind it. Mind you, I could only manage a three month stack at a time. And it was a nice thick planner. Goal setting, bucket list, party planning, writing and plotting sheets, week and month layouts…I’m getting goose-bumps just typing this.

But it was too much.

I was hyper-organized.

I planned every day, every minute.

There was no room for truly relaxing (though I planned in time for it). Who can make relaxing happen at 2:30-2:45 on Monday when there’s 10 more things on your “to do” list? Scheduling relaxing? Not that you shouldn’t plan a block of time for relaxing…but 15 minutes…come on! What was I thinking?

I needed rest. Soul rest. The kind that is deep and meaningful. The kind of rest where you sit with the Lord and just be.

So, I surrendered my carefully charted, carefully laid out system to the Lord.

And it hurt.

It still hurts.

Every.

Day.

Maybe that’s what “dying to myself” looks like right now.

Will I go back to my system?

I don’t know. But right now, I am focusing on being sensitive to the Lord and what He is asking of me.

And He wants me to be still.

Rest in Him.

And let go.

OVERCOMING GRIEF: A year later

 

As many of you know, I lost my mother in the Spring of 2017. So, I have gotten past the one year mark. And I have learned some very interesting things about grief. Some of which I have blogged about in the months following her death. Some that I have only come to learn in the last couple of months.

As time passes, I have a better taste, I believe, of what life will look like without her…what it will look like to carry on and grieve her in the years to come. And I would like to share some of those insights.

Something shifts right around that one year mark. And things do change. There comes some kind of acceptance. Not that it’s okay that your loved one, or my mother, is gone. But that it’s okay to move on in the grieving process, to move on with life.

You realize that, while you will never get over losing your loved one, you can get through it. You might wonder ‘what is the difference?’. I think that when you lose someone so close to you, they will always be a part of you. There will always be those moments when you catch yourself in a memory…but that won’t always mean that the memory brings pain and tears. Eventually, you will be able to remember them and smile more often than not…think of them fondly.

The sting of the loss becomes more of a dull ache. When I reflect on my mother’s passing, it is no longer the sharp stab of pain. It doesn’t bring deep sorrow. There is an ache there, but I am able to, again, remember her well and share those memories with my husband or my kids and reminisce. This gives those moments purpose.

You probably will still have crying spells. It’s not all sunshine and roses. I pass the cemetery where my mother has been laid to rest every day. I press my hand to the window as if to reach out to her. A quiet sadness touches my heart and I miss her. As well, when my sister laughs, I hear my mother. She shares so many commonalities with my mother it surprises me. Her smile and laughter are just a couple. But it stirs my heart when my sister laughs. It pulls me from the moment and takes me back to moments shared with my mom. And there is the ache. But I choose to let my lips lift and share the joy of the moment both in the memory and in the present. And celebrate my mom living on.

These are just a few of the things I’ve come to find as the days blend into weeks and time marches onward. But they have been true for me. How about you? Are there insights you have gleaned from a loss that you would like to share?

 

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: The Lady Bornekova Series

The Lady Bornekova Series was inspired by time I spent in the Czech Republic. I fell in love with the people, the land, the architecture, and, of course, the history. When I discovered the history behind the Jan Hus statue, I was all too eager for more! Add to that a visit to a hunting/summer chateau kept by the royal family outside of Hradec Kralove, and the wheels in my head were more than turning. This book began as a one-shot, but I fell in love with the characters and just had to finish their story…what happens to them in the course of the 15-year Hussite Wars?

For those of you who are completely lost, the Hussite Wars was a religious civil war fought in the Bohemian lands (current day Czech Republic). It was sparked by the teachings of Jan Hus (largely influenced by John Wycliff) who had some…challenges with the way the Catholic Church of the day was run. He was like Martin Luther before Martin Luther. (In fact, Martin Luther made a statement that he had been “a Hussite” all along.) Jan Hus was martyred for his stand against the Church and this led to conflict and eventually all out war.

Though the wars lasted 15 years, there will not be like…a book per year. There were 5 “Anti-Hussite Crusades” on the part of the Catholic Church. These crusades will be the benchmarks for the books…I will cover at least one crusade per book. But, my female readers out there that don’t necessarily like to read a lot of fighting…no worries! I don’t either. There is only what fighting is absolutely necessary. This series is more about the relationships between the characters and how they interact and struggle during this major conflict in their land.

Now that I have rambled on for quite some time…let me introduce you to the first two books…

The Lady Bornekova

A strong-willed lady torn between her heart and her duty.

Karin Bornekova struggles with her duty to the Bohemian Crown. Harboring thoughts that could be deemed traitorous, she is sequestered to the Royal Viscount’s hunting lodge. She becomes the target of an individual with murderous intent. Her heart soon becomes entangled though her father intends to wed her to another.

Dramatic, suspenseful, and heart-wrenching, The Lady Bornekova follows Karin as her homeland hovers on the brink of civil war.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Karin sighed as she leaned on Pavel’s shoulder in blissful sleep. It was a sweet sound. Gentle, angelic even. They had not been underway for long, but the movement of the carriage had rocked her into pleasant dreams rather quickly.

Pavel’s nerves were alert, seeming to tingle all at once with her so close. But he dare not move away, lest he wake her. So, he sat still, enjoying an even greater closeness than he had earlier that evening. The contact, while they danced, had been exciting. This was more peaceful but, because of the heat of their contact, enthralling all the same.

As she rested, he listened to the rhythmic clip-clop of the horse’s hooves and focused on the gentle thumping of her heartbeat against his arm.

A crunching sound echoed through the night.

Crack!

The carriage pitched to the side.

Pavel grabbed Karin and held her tight to his body.

Karin awoke with a start, eyes wide.

“Don’t move!” he commanded, wrapping his arms tighter around her as the carriage landed hard, jolting them both.

It continued to roll, slamming them into the side and threatening to throw them out the small window. That would put them in an even more dangerous position.

Pavel kept his body stiff and held on to Karin. He could barely breathe. It was his body that had slammed into the wall and cushioned Karin’s.

The car had not stopped moving, and it threatened to roll onto the roof, teetering precariously between roof and side. How much longer could he hold onto her? How much longer could they endure?

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The Lady and the Hussites

***SPOILER ALERT IN BLURB IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST BOOK***

Their story continues as the Hussite Wars rage on…

Karin and Pavel arrive safely at his parents’ home in southern Bohemia, but things are not as they seem. There are secrets between them. A wall goes up. And then Pavel is called into battle.

Radek and Zdenek are pulled into the conflict of the Hussite Wars despite their best efforts to remain neutral, while Stepan finds himself ready for bloodshed. With tensions mounting within their circle and throughout their country, what will become of Pavel and Karin? Can they find their way back to each other?

Can Karin and Pavel hold onto each other amidst the hardships of war?

Enjoy an Excerpt

***SPOILER ALERT IN EXCERPT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST BOOK***

Turning his attention to his beloved, Pavel drew Karin to the horse. He traced a finger down the side of her face as if he could memorize her features more vividly than he already had.

“Your visage will be my constant companion until I return to you.”

Karin’s mouth tugged upward. “Your smile will be mine.”

He leaned in to kiss her once more. This was not the most fevered, passionate kiss they had shared. Not with his parents looking on. Rather it was sweet, tender, filled with hope and promise.

When he pulled back this time, Pavel allowed his fingers to linger on her face but a handful of seconds before he broke all contact with her and mounted his steed. But as she stepped away from the horse’s body, he sought her face. It would be for naught—merely serving to delay him further. Still, he could not stop himself.

But she would not turn. Even as she reached his mother, Karin would not face him.

And he understood. She had met the limits of her strength.

So he urged the horse onward, keeping his eyes on the horizon.

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

I’m a coffee lovin’, word slinging, Historical Romance author who’s super power is converting caffeine into novels. I love those odd little tidbits of history that are stranger than fiction. That’s what inspires me. Well, that and a good love story.

But of all the love stories I know, mine is my favorite. I live happily with my own Prince Charming and our gaggle of minions. Three to be exact. They sure know how to distract a writer! But, alas, the stories must be written, even if it must happen in the wee hours of the morning.

Happy Reading!

Connect with Sara and Her Books

Website: saraturnquist.com

Twitter: @sarat1701

Facebook: AuthorSaraRTurnquist

Pinterest: SaraVTurnquist

Instagram: @sarat0103

YouTube: Sara Turnquist

GIVEAWAY

I will select, by Rafflecopter, a winner who will receive e-copies of both books in the series. I will also select a second winner who will get a $10 Amazon gift card. They will be selected from the same Rafflecopter entry board. Please follow the directions indicated below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Becca Hart

Welcome, Readers! I have another fantastic author for you to meet – Author Becca Hart. I came across her in this wide world of the internet through a connection on my blog. And, finding out she writes clean Romantic Suspense, I was happy to host her on the blog. She is here talking about her work, her process, and even has offered a giveaway! So, keep reading and check out the featured novel!

Hello, Becca! Welcome to my blog. Thanks for being here. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Against All Odds is a Christian romantic suspense novel about the growing love of Elizabeth Seymour and Dr. Gilbert Callahan in the face of a dangerous game of revenge from the sister of the man Elizabeth shot in self-defense two years ago.

What was the inspiration for Against All Odds?

One of the biggest inspirations for it was Lori Wick’s Sophie’s Heart. Though that novel isn’t a romantic suspense, I was intrigued by the growing romantic tension between the main characters in their unique situation. Pride and Prejudice helped inspire it as well, though Elizabeth and Gilbert get along better than Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Oooohhhh…. Pride and Prejudice… one of my favorites!

Tell us…did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

Before the age of 15, at one point in my life, I wanted to be a baseball player! Hey, there were once whole teams of women playing the sport during the Second World War. After that, I wanted to be a medical doctor, given my love of science and helping people. However, despite my extroverted nature, I realized I’m an artist at heart, and I love writing too much to do anything else.

Interesting…you don’t hear of many girls dreaming of being a baseball player! Right on!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 15, we had a free day in gym class, and as was my wont to do in those days, I started wandering around and daydreaming, pictures and stories swirling around my head. I’d already been writing for a couple of years by then, with friends and on my own, but it was just something fun to do. That day in the high school gym, I came to the rather sudden realization that it was no longer just “something fun”—I wanted to keep doing and do it for the rest of my life. The writing bug had officially bitten me!

And, as I’m sure you’ve come to realize…there are things about the whole writing thing that we love and things that we don’t love as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

This may sound odd, but I believe it’s writing the second draft I most dread. By then, I’m trying to get the story tied down and I often find quite a bit rewriting that needs to be done. My brain’s going a mile a minute, trying to figure out if this thing or that will really work and how. If it won’t, I wrack my brain, pull out my hair, and endure many sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do instead (this is one of the places having a writer’s group can really help).

That’s a good point. More eyes on the manuscript…more creative minds…

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

The biggest one is to persevere. Keep plugging away at it, keep practicing. Get into a writer’s group and allow them to critique your writing. Stay open to good, constructive advice, but remember that it’s your work and you can do whatever you want to.

I set a mood when I write with music and the like. I am always curious if other authors do… What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

It depends on what I’m writing, and I don’t typically do so. I usually only listen to music when I write if I’m trying to get unstuck from writer’s block or just trying to make the images and words swirling around in my head coalesce into something. When I do listen to music while writing, it’s not stuff I can dance to (too distracting). Sometimes, it’s somewhat depressing and maudlin and other times it’s just slow and instrumental.

Just for curiosity’s sake for my readers… How long does it take you to write a book?

That’s a little hard to say. Against All Odds took between five and ten years, whereas the novel I just finished only took less than a year once I buckled down and started writing.

This, too, I know is so different from writer to writer. Sometimes, it takes a while, sometimes the story seems to “pour” out of you and onto the page.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I often break my own promise to myself here—that is, not to work on more than one thing at a time. Truthfully, while my current romantic suspense novel is on the front burner, I’m technically working on four projects at once, counting that! This newer romantic suspense novel features an invisible stalker, much like the one I just finished and sent to the editor.

I tend to do that, too. Work on more than one thing at a time…it can be stressful! Thanks for chatting with us and sharing a little about your process and your work. And, without further ado, we will dive right into Against All Odds…

Against All Odds

Two years after a violent break-in left Elizabeth Seymour widowed and with blood on her hands, she’s finally starting over in the little town of Avalon, Ohio, with her daughter, Haley. She has the house of her dreams, a good church, and friends she can rely on. Everything seems to be falling into place—until she receives a threatening note from Veronica Sadowsky, the sister of the man Elizabeth shot, the same woman who tried to ruin her life once before. This time, though, Veronica won’t stop until she gets revenge.

When Elizabeth’s home goes up in flames, she turns to family friend, Doctor Gilbert Callahan, a widowed father of three. He invites her and Haley to stay with his family. As Veronica draws Elizabeth into a game of increasing stakes, she and Gilbert only grow closer, learning to trust and rely on one another. But Elizabeth’s presence in Gilbert’s home endangers his family and creates tension with his oldest son. Preserving peace in the house is hard enough, but when Veronica comes after Haley, Elizabeth will risk everything—including her life—to get her child back.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Elizabeth grabbed the mail, calling a quick hello to Mr. Helmheckle next door.

A plain white envelope rested on top of a store ad. Her brow furrowed. What was this? She tossed the bills and ads on the end table and tore the strange envelope open. Who would send her a single folded piece of notebook paper?

There were two typed sentences: ‘You thought you could hide? No, I’m watching you.

Her feet rooted to the carpet.

God, no. She stumbled back onto the arm of the chair. She stared at the words till they blurred. Not here. Why here? It was supposed to be over. Avalon was a safe haven. Her eyes slid closed. Lord God, why’s this happening again? How had Adam Sadowsky’s sister, Veronica, found her again? Granted, Columbus was only an hour’s drive, but still. She hadn’t wanted to go too far away from Dad and Darlene, not to mention her sister, Jenna.

Her throat felt like it was clogged with peanut butter. She tried swallowing. It can’t be…

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

A wife and mother of two, I felt the calling to be a writer at the tender age of fifteen. I wrote a few things before that for school and got one of my stories published in The Cauldron, my high school newspaper. Later on in life, I got another short story, “The Drive,” published in the Diverse Voices Quarterly. I went onto to earn my Associate of Arts degree in English from Pikes Peak Community College in 2013. All that time, I’ve worked as hard as I can to learn my craft but learned even more during the editing process of my novel. Against All Odds isn’t the first novel I’ve ever attempted writing, just the first I’ve gotten published. Born and raised in a small town in northeast Ohio, I make my home in southern Colorado in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains with my husband, rambunctious kids, and a crazy cat.

Connect with Becca and her work

Website – beccahartauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/beccahartauthor

Twitter – @BeccaHart16

GIVEAWAY!

Author Becca Hart is offering 3 (three) free digital copies of Against All Odds one each to the first 3 (three) people to comment on the post and ask a question not among the interview questions. So, get those fingers ready! You can find the button to comment usually at the top of the post. Best of luck!!

INTERVIEW & SPOTLIGHT: Author Jaycee Weaver

Hello, readers! It’s that time. That time for me to introduce you to another fabulous author–Jaycee Weaver. I met Jaycee through a group that formed because of our common writing goals (clean romance), Pure Romance Reads. This is a great website if you are looking for quality contemporary or historical clean romance. Here is the website: Pure Romance Reads. And here is a link to the Facebook page: Pure Romance Reads on Facebook.

But I am getting distracted… Author Jaycee Weaver writes clean Contemporary Romance and it goes deeper than your typical fluffy book. But don’t rely on me, let’s let Jaycee speak for herself…

Welcome to the blog, Jaycee. I’m so glad you are here! First and foremost, I’d like to hear a little about your novella.

Adrift: a Grace Springs novella is the first in a spin-off from my Everyday Love series. There is a fictional church, Grace Springs Fellowship, that I’ve tied this and a few upcoming novellas to. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before, told in first person present perspective. Erin is a woman who’s been widowed for several years, but still struggles with overcoming her grief. She knows she wants to, but her life has become something very different than what she’d planned and she’s learning to let the Lord rewrite her story. While God’s doing His thing in her, she meets this really sweet man who happens to attend her church. I won’t tell more of the plot, just that it’s very journal-like and filled with tons of water imagery. While there is a little bit of romance, the real story is her journey from feeling adrift in the sea of grief.

I like this idea. It’s fresh and new (at least to me)…basing this series off a church. What was the inspiration for Adrift: a Grace Springs novella?

Last winter, my husband was facing a five-week, out-of-state work trip. I had a lot of feelings about this and not all of them were happy ones. One night I woke up with a strange rocking sensation like you get when you’re trying to sleep after having been on a boat all day. I had the introductory words in my head so clearly that I rolled over and typed them into my phone as fast as I could. By the time I woke up in the morning, I knew I wanted to write a story about a woman who had been living in grief for too long and was finally ready to take back her life. The story just took its own twists and turns from there as I wrote.

Wow…when inspiration strikes, it strikes, doesn’t it?

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

As a kid, my top three career dreams were to be a professional singer, a writer, or a teacher. From elementary school I made plans to become a teacher in case I was never discovered as the next Debbie Gibson. Ha ha! Everything I did was with that in mind. I babysat, taught Sunday school, worked in daycare and eventually taught Pre-K. About halfway through my degree, I realized I’d lost a lot of my passion for teaching and I allowed my worries over being able to balance the demands our society places on teachers and the frequently unpleasant ways parents choose to deal with them to win out over the dreams and ideals I had about the actual teaching parts.

Praise the Lord, He never closes a door without opening a window. I had a new dream to become a writer. At the time, I thought I’d write Christian non-fiction aimed at new believers. Books that would help them navigate this crazy Christian world filled with wonderful people and also modern-day Pharisees, understanding God’s heart for His people to bring about real, positive change.

To be honest, I let go of both dreams for far too long. I lived out my ultimate dream of becoming a stay-home mom, and for a while I was even a professional crafter. I still mostly stay home, I do still craft, I sing with the worship band, but now I’m also a substitute teacher and a writer. So, really, God has allowed me to weave all of my dreams together into one huge, beautiful new one that is made up of all He’s ever placed in my heart!

Isn’t He just awesome like that? But, in all that transition, especially that period of being a stay-at-home mom, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I honestly don’t think there was ever a time I didn’t want to write at least on some level. I never really pursued it as a profession, though, until my first full-length book came to me and began really taking shape. And now I wonder why it took me so long!

And we all know that, while there are parts of the whole process we love…there are definitely things about it we don’t care for as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

The most dreadful part of writing is always a tie between the edit/revision stage and the waiting for feedback from its first readers. Editing and revising take such a long time and require an author to really step back, look through the eyes of a reader, and admit when something you might like isn’t working. It’s emotionally draining but liberating, too. But waiting for feedback is always tense and rife with insecurity and wondering if anyone else feels the way you do about the story!

I hear ya’! It truly is art…and art is so subjective!

I find I learn a lot about the craft of writing from conferences and reading writing craft books, but also from just reading. We pick up so much intuitively.

What are you currently reading?

That answer literally changes almost daily. I read a LOT, and fast. I’m pretty much always reading one contemporary Christian romance or romantic suspense or another. I just finished Jenn Faulk’s latest, Worth It, and it might take me a few days to move forward after that one. It was absolutely wonderful and everything my heart wants Christian fiction to be—honest, raw, emotionally engaging, with real struggles and real people coming into relationship with a very real Jesus, and of course, a happy ending with plenty of humor, too.

That’s great to hear! I am more often reading clean Historical Romance, but starting to dip my toes back in the waters of Contemporary Christian Romance. I’ll have to add that one to my TBR (to be read) pile.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a general mood I like to set when I write. And that includes music. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I listen to music constantly. My favorite genre is singer/songwriter, especially stuff with a fun beat. Rend Collective, Needtobreathe, All Sons & Daughters, I Am They, and City Harbor are some of my favorites. When writing my upcoming Christmas novellas, though, I had to listen to holiday music while writing because writing about winter in the middle of 100-degree heat? Yeah, not happening without some help! Luckily most of my favorite CCM artists have holiday albums I could shuffle through!

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I wish I could get into the groove earlier in the day, but I am so not a morning person. My peak writing hours seem to end up being noon to five, which is a totally inconvenient pain because my youngest gets out of school at 2pm, and the older ones get out across town at 3:30, so I have to quit right as I hit my groove! My usual place is at home, but I bought a Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad mini, so now I can write pretty much anywhere, anytime, and sync it to my laptop for formatting later!

Something that I find people are always curious about is: How long does it take you to write a book?

That answer is about as consistent as my routine (clue: what’s a routine?). I’m about the least structured person I know. I’m organized and ambitious, usually efficient, but to be all of that I have to roll with life’s demands, which means no two days look the same, ever. My writing time is the same way. My first book took almost a year to write and edit, the second only about six months. Adrift is a 90-page novella and that still took the better part of four and a half months.

However, the Christmas novella that’s going to be part of an upcoming collection (details coming soon!) was a gift from God that only took TWO AND A HALF WEEKS to write. Seriously, I am still in awe of how that happened, and I’m pretty sure it’s the best story I’ve written yet (which is how I know it’s a gift from God and not anything I did!).

It’s amazing how some work just fairly pours out of you and onto the page, isn’t it?

Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Adrift will release on October 1st, but it’s now in preorder. I have kind of an obsession with kitchen concoctions, especially sweet ones. The novella contains a camping scene where they are making some of the most outlandish s’mores you can imagine. If you like s’mores…or don’t, but like other sweet treats, you’ll have to read that scene!

Last question…I promise! Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m currently working on two Christmas novellas that should be out in early November. One is the second in the Grace Springs novella spin-off series called Faith Like Snow, and the other is part of a latino Christian holiday collection (official titles and other announcements coming soon!). That’s the two-week gift story that I can’t wait to share, but since the group is still working out the details, I guess you’ll have to check back in with me soon to find out!

Thank you again, Jaycee, for joining us today on the blog. And for giving us a peek into your novella and your process. I am so eager for my readers to get an even closer look at Adrift, so I’ll not delay, but turn them loose for the rest of the blog…

Adrift: a Grace Springs novella

I’m overwhelmed.Truth be told, I’ve been overwhelmed for years. Adrift in a sea of stress and grief and clinging to the life raft of responsibility.

It’s time I start swimming again. And someday? Maybe surf the waves instead of being pulled under and dragged out to sea.

God offers so much more for Erin than a life of treading water, focusing all her time and attention on running a small business while raising her kids after the death of her husband.
Through strangely poignant dreams and a series of run-ins with an unexpectedly attractive guy from church, Erin finds the hope she’ll not only feel alive again, but maybe even ride life’s waves victoriously.

Enjoy an Excerpt

That ring was my anchor for so long. It about killed me to take it off, but I couldn’t stand all the pitying looks people gave me when they noticed I still wore it. Like there’s some timeline engraved on a stone tablet out there for when a person should suck it up and move on after losing the love of their life.

Who decided a year was long enough, anyway? Like it’s some expiration date that passes and suddenly you’re supposed to be able to live like before?

It’s been almost four years and I’m still not completely sure what I’m supposed to do here without him.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Buy Link

Adrift: a Grace Springs novella https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H14N8G6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i3

Check Out Some of Jaycee’s Other Works

What Could Be (Everyday Love 1) https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C8QGBG4/ref=series_rw_dp_sw 

 

Whatever Comes Our Way (Everyday Love 2) https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CGHF1MQ/ref=series_rw_dp_sw 

More About the Author

Jaycee Weaver lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her amazing husband, three daughters, a crazy shih-tzu, and a dwarf rabbit. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in hot pursuit of her 90 million other hobbies or shuttling the kids around. Jaycee loves to read books in multiple genres, drink too much coffee (honestly, when are they going to make the coffee IV a real thing?!), sing, take landscape and floral photos, sew, cook, bake, and craft just about anything (can we say Pinterest?). She considers herself a recovering perfectionist and sometimes hot mess. She does her best to live her faith in action, being open, honest, and real and letting God be Lord over the good, the bad, and the ugly even when it’s hard.

Connect with Jaycee and Her Books 

www.facebook.com/jayceeweaver

twitter @weaverjaycee

Instagram @jayceeweaver

www.pinterest.com/weaversgrrrl

www.amazon.com/author/jayceeweaver

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17239020.Jaycee_Weaver

 

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Award-winning Author Linda Brooks Davis

Hello, readers! I have a treat for you today! Award-winning author Linda Brooks Davis is here to share her story and share about her books. Including a first reveal of an AMAZING redesigned cover!! But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe I’m not. Linda’s interview is too good for me to vamp too much before, so I’ll just get to it…

Welcome to the blog, Linda! Thanks for being here. First, can you tell us a little about your novel and perhaps some of the more historically significant events behind your story?

My novel, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, releases in mid-October. Set in 1914, it’s Novel 2 of The Women of Rock Creek series.

[Novel 1 of the series is The Calling of Ella McFarland, which won the Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award in 2014 and ACFW’s Carol Award for Debut Novel in 2016. In this 1905 story, which is re-releasing very soon with a new cover and some added material, Ella McFarland rescues 13-yr-old Lily from a life of depravation and abuse. And finds a calling in the process.]

In The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, it’s 1914, nine years later. Lily is now a grown woman setting out on life with secrets that threaten her every dream. The first flames of the Great War have ignited Europe, and the fight for women’s rights, starting with the vote, is escalating in America. But an additional battle is raging in Oklahoma: a murder trial has concluded, and the jury has reached a verdict. Having testified as an eye witness, Lily’s future rests in the hands of twelve men. Which way will the scales of Lady Justice tip?

Seeking justice, safety for her loved ones, and a voice for women in their governance–the vote–Lily is swept into Texas where she uncovers more than she ever bargained for.

Wow! As a true lover of historical fiction/romance, these sound intriguing! What was the inspiration for your novels?

My grandmother, Ella Jane–for whom the Ella Jane in The Calling of Ella McFarland is named, was reared, married, and bore two of her nine children in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. My mother, her seventh daughter, was born in Oklahoma in 1919. Both women told tales about the “wilds” of life in Indian Territory and/or the hardships of life in Oklahoma and Texas in the first few decades of the twentieth century. Two elements always stood out in their accounts: faith and grit.

As a child, I was enthralled by these stories and imagined all kinds of life-threatening dangers, loves, loses–and victories. These tales seeded the stories I now write and anticipate continuing to write as long as the Lord blesses me with a brain that still works. (I’m 72, so I’m grateful for each day I can put thoughts to paper–and remember my medications! 🙂

So, these were ideas from childhood…when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Unlike other authors, I can’t say I always wanted to write or I was a writer as long as I can remember. I didn’t scratch out once-upon-a-times alone in my room or in the crook of two limbs of an old tree. Or even in school. I did imagine stories, but I don’t know why I never wrote them down. I think I was just plain bashful, couldn’t imagine setting my private thoughts down on paper for anyone to read. I devoured books and craved the public library in the summer, but those enthralling stories were, I thought, beyond my capacity to write. I enjoyed authorship vicariously, I guess.

While away at college from 1964-68, I enjoyed writing letters home. I imagined my parents and little brother–out on a farm–reading them Waltons-style–and enjoying my college experience vicariously. I told them every move I made (with some editorial flourish, I’m sure) and enjoyed every minute of it. (Later on, as an Army spouse, I did the same thing. But, still, I hadn’t considered writing for publication.0

Then along came a university English professor who took me aside and asked if I’d considered creative writing as a career. The suggestion bowled me over. In a word–No! In fact–Horrors! Put my inner self out there for the world to read and critique? No, no, no. So I chose speech pathology, and I devoted 40 years to working with individuals with special needs of every kind            

Then came first-time grandparenthood–in triplicate form. Yes, my daughter birthed triplets in 2005–a girl and two boys. What a momentous, life-altering event that was! The impact can’t be overemphasized. It literally changed the trajectory of our family’s lives forever. I walked alongside my daughter through her pregnancy journey, one that ranged from simple anxiety to life-threatening moments. She was hospitalized two months. By God’s grace, her body held out to 28 weeks, and the babies weighed in at 2.5 pounds. We basically lived at the NICU for three months.

During that trying time, I wore calluses on my knees. Please, Lord . . . Oh, God, please just . . . Lord, I promise if You’ll . . . My persistence ranked right up there with the desperate widow Jesus speaks of in Luke 18. I love the Amplified Version:

“In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and had no respect for man. There was a[desperate] widow in that city and she kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice and legal protection from my adversary.’ For a time he would not; but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will give her justice and legal protection; otherwise [a]by continually coming she [will be an intolerable annoyance and she] will wear me out.’” Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says!And will not [our just] God defend and avenge His elect [His chosen ones] who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [in providing justice] on their behalf? I tell you that He will defend and avenge them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?”

While the triplets were still fighting for their lives, I vowed to devote the rest of my life to them. And to leave them a legacy of faith in writing. But I hadn’t a clue how or what form it would take. When my daughter named her little girl Ella Jane–for that tiny baby’s great-great-grandmother, my own grandmother Ella Jane–I knew. I’d write a novel. The heroine would be an Ella Jane. The story would be saturated in my grandmother’s history, in the faith and grit she and others in the family spoke of, in the soil where she earned a name worthy of a great-great-granddaughter–Oklahoma’s Indian Territory.

In October a second story about an extraordinary young woman will release. Ella McFarland was born in my grandmother’s life story. And Lily was born in Ella’s. The Lord overrode my inabilities and insecurities. He stands beside me, for better or for worse, a reality I will profess until my dying breath.

What an amazing (and inspiring) story! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve got nothing that can follow that. Nothing. So, I’ll let that lead right into your novels…

 The Mending of Lillian Cathleen

***Available for purchase on Amazon on October 18, 2018***

Enjoy an Excerpt

This is the opening scene to The Mending of Lillian Cathleen:

Ma resisted a drunken beast as long as she lived.

I lower my head to the barren table and run my hands along its blackened surface, as nicked and pitted as my mother’s skin. She fed her brood atop this slab. As best she could.

My fingers coax from the wood’s crannies a lifetime of embedded moments, photo cards in a parlor viewer.

Long extinguished firelight shimmers in the table’s gentle slopes, back light for a promenade of memories.

Pressing my ear to the hardened plane, I capture a fleeting accompaniment, a dirge played on a broken heart. Tin plates clatter. Bean juice sizzles. One corner of the table rocks atop a nail keg. And hands etched with grime grip spoons as if they’re brooms.

My imagined viewer clicks, and a bitter Oklahoma winter arrives. A blowing rain.

Work-roughened hands upend the table and slide it into a rectangular frame, our shanty’s one door, Ma’s feeble attempt to batten her family against storms.

The scene shifts, and a distant Christmas glows in the wood’s warp and woof. Ma sits alone, abandoned to die. I find her. Feed her. Dress her in decent nightclothes. And spread fine quilts over her skeletal frame.

But she disappears without a word, save a penciled note.

Go back to that fancy college, Lil’. Make somethin’ of yourself, somethin’ I weren’t able to do. Fly. For me.

I trace a fingertip along the board’s undulating lines. Love beyond measuring is ground into the wood grain.

Clenching my eyes shut, I glimpse my mother stumbling through a counterpane of snow. To the blacksmith’s shop. And parts unknown.

One photo slide supplants another, and I’m returning to college on rail tracks headed south. For Ma’s sake.

I blink, and the meager lights darken, stirring scraps of a lonely memoir created months ago. Ma and I enjoy a handful of hours in the deep of night, she on one bank of Rock Creek and I on the other. We whisper secrets across the water and hide from the monster she married.

The table’s wooden canvas darkens to black, save a ghastly figure, Walter Sloat. A feather pillow in his tobacco-stained hands. And Ma, spiritless in death.

I should have killed him.

Curling my fingers around the table edge, I wince. A rough-bored hole has nipped my fingernail, peeling it back. I staunch the scarlet bloom, but what’s to be done for the borehole cruelty carved in my heart?

Today’s announcement in downtown Needham will render the first stitch.

Lifting my head, I lean against the sycamore chair back. Hand-carved and rough as a cob in winter, its bumps and bulges poke at me, prod me to cast aside the haunting photo promenade and to stand.

“Ma would’ve judged this day hotter ‘n a billy goat in a pepper patch, Lil’.” Donnie, my bowlegged brother, leans against the door frame and stares at his meager world outside. Stones encircle an abandoned campfire beneath a stubborn black walnut tree, witness to decades of thunderstorms and lightning, droughts and wildfires.

And tumults of a different sort under our tin roof.

He clumps onto the slanting porch. Rickets has stolen his mobility.

I join him. “It’s a hundred and six degrees.”

“You reckon that’s as hot as Ma’s billy goat?” He runs grubby fingers through the thatch he’s chopped neck length with rusted shears.

I grin and ruffle his coffee-black mop. “I reckon so. It’s out of the ordinary for sure.”

But this is no ordinary day.

The jury has reached a verdict.

“Gotta run, brother mine.”

He peers at me, telltale curiosity rimming his black-marble eyes. “Where ya goin’, sis?”

How much do I reveal? Depravation has cast his mind in a limited mold. “I’m going into town. But I’ll be back later on. With some news.”

“What kinda news?”

I tweak the tip of his nose. “The good kind. The kind Ma would whoop over.”

He slaps a thigh and chortles. “I’ll be watchin’ for you then.”

Striding toward the meandering stream behind the shack I once called home, I halt in the tinder-dry brush. And turn for another glimpse of my brother’s gap-toothed grin.

Joy crests near my heart. Good tidings await my brother and me—and our departed ma—the other side of Rock Creek.

The Calling of Ella McFarland

***This is the new cover for The Calling of Ella McFarland, the first reveal prior to its re-release!***

Ella McFarland sits on the precipice of her life’s dream: teaching at Worthington School for Girls. But in the male dominated world of 1905, scandal clouds her family name and may limit her to grueling farm labor in Indian Territory. As hope for Oklahoma statehood rises, a new love buds in her heart, and the woman’s suffrage debate rages, Ella encounters an abused sharecropper’s daughter, forcing her to make decisions she never imagined about her faith, family, and aspirations. What toll will the turmoil demand of Ella’s dream? And what call might God lay on her heart?

Buy Links

The Calling of Ella McFarland: http://amzn.to/2HyxT64

A Rock Creek Christmas Collection: http://amzn.to/2C9NbP1

More About the Author

Linda Brooks Davis was born and reared on a farm in Raymondville, a small Rio Grande Valley community in the southernmost tip of Texas. Linda earned a Bachelor Degree in Speech Pathology from Abilene Christian University and a Master Degree from Houston Baptist University. She retired in 2008 after forty years as a special educator and administrator. Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren, three of whom are triplets. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

Linda’s debut novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award. It subsequently won the ACFW Carol Award for Debut Novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma and released in December 2016. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910. It released in 2017 as a prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, which is set in 1914 and releases in October 2018.

Connect with Linda and her books

Facebook:   Linda Brooks Davis, Author   https://www.facebook.com/LindaBrooksDavis/

Twitter:   @LBrooksDavis   https://twitter.com/LBrooksDavis

Pinterest:   ljbd1946   https://www.pinterest.com/ljbd1946/

Instagram: lindadavis1321   https://www.instagram.com/lindadavis1321/

Contact Links:

Website: http://lindabrooksdavis.com

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2qshCKq

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2pAcX52

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-brooks-davis

GIVEAWAY!!!

Author Linda Brooks Davis is offering, to TWO winners, a paperback copy of their choosing between her two novels. The Calling of Ella McFarland or The Mending of Lillian Cathleen could be yours! Keep in mind, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is intended to be read AFTER you have already finished The Calling of Ella McFarland. To enter for one of the these two wins, you must be located in the continental United States. Find the other directions on entering (no purchase necessary) on the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway