Thursday, September 28, 2017

Center Stage: Divine Gamble by Charlene Raddon


The air shifted, and a breeze fanned the back of her neck. Someone had entered the saloon. Seeing Marshal Jake Harker look behind her and frown, she stuffed the bank draft into her pocket. The hair on her neck rose. She turned slowly, expecting to see death staring her in the eye.
A new stranger, built like a freight wagon, stood just inside. Small eyes squinted out from under bushy brows. Dirt and grime smeared his square, pugnacious jaw. He reminded her of Quasimodo, minus the hunchback, but with an ugly scar angled from the corner of his nose, and down across a fat-lipped, down-turned mouth, exposing a jagged tooth. Her father had played Quasimodo once on a beer-soaked stage in Wichita, frightening a five-year-old Maisy near to death. Did he seem familiar to her because he reminded her of that unnerving experience? The newcomer gave her a bold once-over. He took what looked like a photograph out of his pocket, glanced at it, at Maisy, and, wearing a grisly smile, started toward her. Something behind Maisy caught his attention, and he stopped. She glanced over her shoulder and saw Harker staring at the stranger. The Quasimodo look alike cursed under his breath, spun about and left. Maisy laid one hand over her heart and pressed the other to her lips as if that would keep her from falling apart. The man had gone but might be waiting for her when she left at quitting time. He must have seen Harker's badge and figured now wasn't the time to grab her. Maisy's heart raced. She closed her eyes and reminded herself of the other times she'd survived Gold's henchmen. She would survive this time, too. A sudden urge to leave town assailed her. But the stage had left. The ore train from Telluride wouldn't arrive until morning. Why had she ever thought she'd be safe in a dead-end canyon like Pandora occupied? Yes, she had friends here, but she couldn't risk endangering them. She discreetly closed her bag to hide the card box inside. "Snake eyes! I forgot my card box. Would you keep an eye on things, Jake, while I go back to the boarding house for it?" "Let Delilah do it. I'd better go with you. You never know what gun-happy drunk might—" She forced a laugh. "I'm a big girl, Marshal. I've been walking dark streets, storm or no storm, all by myself for a long time now, and I have my Deringer in my reticule. I don't need anyone holding my hand. Besides, Delilah's busy." "Still, I think..." "Don't be silly. I'll take Hock. He won't let anything happen to me." As if comprehending her words, the dog rose and swiped a wet tongue over the back of her clenched hand. "All right." Harker bent to pet the dog. "I think he'll make you a good guard dog. He knows you saved him. Get back here soon, though." "I only need ten minutes, I promise. I'll take the back way, and no one will even see me." Slinging her cloak around her shoulders, she took up the bag and headed for the rear door of the saloon, the dog at her heels. The rest of her faro gear would have to remain here. Replacing it all would be expensive, but, if she took it, Harker would know she didn't plan to return and demand to know why. Every instinct screamed for her to leave Pandora now. But she had to hang onto her wits, had to make plans. One choice would mean a steep and dangerous trek over a trail that zigzagged up the cliff and over the mountain. No, the train remained her best bet. She could only hope she'd be safe in her room until departure time. At least she had her reticule, the bank draft Harker had given her, and her Derringer. She'd managed before; she could do it again.  
She had to.

*** steam rating (3 out of 5)

Book Description:

As a girl, Maisy Macoubrie witnessed the murder of her beloved father. She's been running from the killer for fourteen years. If only she could provide a safe home for her and her son… but she'll never get rich dealing faro in saloons, with a cold-blooded killer on her trail.
The Preacher never meant to become a gunman. Sometimes life deals a man a hard hand. Always alone, always hunted, he dreams of all he’s been denied—peace, family, love. The moment Maisy and The Preacher meet, their lives change once more. United in battle against a powerful enemy, they fight side by side, but can they beat the odds they face? Is love worth the biggest gamble man has ever known?

About the author:

An avid reader, Charlene Raddon never planned to be a writer. A vivid dream changed that. She dragged out a portable typewriter and began to put her dream on paper. Originally published by Kensington Books, Charlene is now an Indie author. All her books have received high accolades, contest wins, and awards. When not writing, she designs historical book covers at her site, where she specializes in westerns.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Update on Down to the River

I spent yesterday formatting the Down to the River manuscript for paperback publication. Today, I uploaded the cover and submitted to Create Space. I plan to publish the book on October 2nd, my brother's birthday. 

He died a few months ago, and I miss him dearly. When I first began publishing my books, he was there to support and encourage me, as he has been my entire life. I still find it difficult to speak of him without dissolving into tears.

Lest I destroy my computer with the flood of tears, let me instead share the cover for the paperback--

Abby and Joshua, the last of the novellas, will be published this Saturday! It was a tough story to write, and I shed many tears along with Abby. 
Next up, I'll return to Libby and Ander's story. The title of the next book will be Libby Undone. This time Ander's point of view will be included along with Libby's.

If you recall, Libby and Ander travel east in the hopes of selling some of Ander's artwork. They decide to visit Ander and Taron's mother who has recently remarried. Ander is suspicious of his mother's new husband. 

Also in town, who should they see but Sylvia Lindsey. Ander's mother and her new husband and Sylvia travel back to Texas with them.

Should make an interesting journey! 

I've already begun writing the story and plan on publishing it by the beginning of 2018.

And we can't forget Robbie and Abby, Robbie Undaunted and Abby Unbent. Hopefully, both will be finished before the end of the year! Abby Unbent may be published first, around December, if all goes according to plan. 

But don't forget--Abby and Joshua! Only five days until publication! Pre-order today!

Friday, September 22, 2017

12 Weeks to a Trilogy

One month after I started my journey, I finished Abby and Joshua. It will be published on September 30th.

Yes, I'm about three weeks behind on my goal but happy the novella is completed.

As always, the story took a direction I didn't expect. That has happened often enough that I'm no longer surprised. 

I have already begun the next book which will not be a novella but a short novel. Scenes are popping in my head, and I hope my momentum will continue! I have eight weeks left in my Twelve Weeks to a Trilogy challenge. I plan to finish all three books--
(Tentative titles)
Libby Undone
Abby Unbent
Robbie Unafraid

I'm ready for this next book--Libby Undone. Libby and Ander are my favorite characters, and I hope to delve more deeply into their past. Thanks for joining me on the journey!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Center Stage: No One's Bride by Nerys Leigh

A mail order bride with no intention of marrying, a young postmaster determined to change her mind.


Adam lifted his head again to see Amy through the window, walking into the back yard. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly and, as the door opened, plastered on what he hoped was a convincing smile.
She returned his smile when she saw him, making his own transform into the real thing.

Her hair was escaping from her braid, rogue strands frizzing around her face, and her clothing was rumpled and covered with muck. But even exhausted, disheveled and dirty she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

“Are you all right?” he said, rising from the settee.

She pushed the door closed behind her and slumped against it. “Apart from feeling like my arms are about to melt away to nothing and wishing that my back would go with them, I’m fine.”

His smile disappeared. “You shouldn’t be working there, it’s not suitable work for a woman. George should never have hired you.”

He knew immediately it was the wrong thing to say.
“Really?” She planted her fists on her hips, defiant and utterly adorable.
He raised both hands in surrender, fighting a smile. “I didn’t mean that how it sounded. You can do anything you want. It’s just... you look so tired. He shouldn’t be working you so hard.”
“It was just harder today because the stalls needed a good scrub. It will be easier in the future because I’ll keep up with it all. I just need time to adjust.” She shuffled to the sink, using the pump to splash water on her face. “George is really very sweet, and at least he didn’t tell me I couldn’t come back. I was worried he would.”
“Sweet?” he said, taken aback. “George Parsons? Are you sure we’re talking about the same man? Owns the livery? Gives the word grumpy a bad name?”
She laughed, turning to face him. “Underneath, he’s lovely. You just have to look deeper.” She wrinkled her nose. “What’s that smell?”
“Um...” He’d noticed the odor as soon as she walked in, but he didn’t want to tell her what it was.
She grimaced, looking down at herself. “It’s me, isn’t it?”
He pushed his hands into his pockets and concentrated on not laughing. “Mm hmm.”
“I’m going to need to wash...” she waved her hands at herself “...everything. Maybe I should just go and jump in the creek.”
“I’ll tell you what, we’ll draw the curtains to give you some privacy and I’ll take your clothes and shoes outside and wash them while you get yourself clean at the sink in here. Then I’ll start supper while you get dressed and rest. How does that sound?”
She gave him a dreamy smile. “Like you’re the most wonderful man in the world.”
Adam’s heart thumped in his chest. If she hadn’t smelled so strongly of horse manure the urge to wrap his arms around her would have been irresistible.

** steam rating (2 out of 5)

Book Description:

The last thing Amy wants is a husband, but her only hope of escape from a dangerous situation is to answer postmaster Adam Emerson's advertisement for a bride. When her desperate plan to trick Adam into paying her way across the country goes awry, her guilty conscience compels her to stay in the small Californian town of Green Hill Creek to find a way to repay him the cost of the train fare before she moves on. The trouble is, she’s completely unprepared for the effect of his kindness, charm, wit, and ridiculously blue eyes. As her dream of a new life in San Francisco begins to falter and her past catches up with her, can Amy hold onto the one thing she never thought she’d want but now can’t bear to lose?
About the author:

Nerys Leigh writes thoroughly romantic Christian historical love stories. She loves heroes who are strong but sweet and heroines who are willing to fight for the life they want. She’s from the UK, which you would think puts her in a unique position to not write about mail order brides in the American west, but the old adage of writing what you know has never appealed to her. She has an actual American read each book before publishing to make sure she hasn’t gone all English on it. No One’s Bride is the first in the Escape to the West series which tells the stories of a group of women willing to travel across America to find happiness, and the men determined to win their hearts.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Center Stage: Wyatt's Bounty by Kim Turner

Will a bounty hunter set on revenge risk it all to rescue the woman who walked away?


"Wyatt?" "Huh?" "I loved you...long before Israel died." The confession rocked her thoughts. She had loved Israel, but she had longed for Wyatt years before Israel had died. It had been wrong and there were times it made her feel like she hadn’t done right by her deceased husband. She weaved her fingers into Wyatt’s, touching with tenderness where the fracture had been. “I did, right or wrong. I mean...I loved Israel, we had so much in common with his study of science and plants and my study of medicine, but I was guilty of dreaming for you long before...he died." His smile was tender as he lifted her chin. “I’ve known that for a long time, Doc. And I can’t count how many nights I lay awake, wishing I were holding you.” She held tighter to him. “And when you left Cheyenne, it was all my fault. I knew I had made a mistake. I wasn’t even myself without you. It was as if I kept falling and falling, never hitting the ground to land anywhere.” With that he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her. “I’ll always be here to catch you, Doc, always.”
***** steam rating (5 out of 5)

Book Description:

Bounty hunter Wyatt McCade is recklessly taking down one outlaw at a time. Hard work is one way to forget Tess Sullivan’s womanly curves. But when he learns that she never left Cheyenne, he rides home and right into a trap. Left for dead, he recovers in the capable hands of the lady doctor and even if she can’t forgive herself, loving her is the easy part. But when McCade lands are threatened and he uncovers the truth, it is Tess who is caught in the balance. Finding himself on the bounty hunt of his life, he’ll risk it all to rescue the woman he loves.
Doctor Tess Sullivan shattered her own heart by turning down Wyatt McCade’s proposal. Worse than the hurt in his eyes was watching him ride out of Cheyenne, knowing she’d made the biggest mistake of her life. Pining for his return, she blames herself when he is brought to Cheyenne beaten and near death. Forgiveness comes quickly in the arms of the bounty hunter she has always loved, but she soon finds herself the pawn in a deadly game of revenge, praying Wyatt will find her before it’s too late.

About the author:

Kim Turner writes western historical romance, and discovered her passion of writing at the age of eight by writing poems, short stories and journals. Kim graduated from Clayton State University with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing and holds a Master's Degree in Adult Education from Central Michigan University. Working as a registered nurse educator for over twenty-seven years, she enjoys studying the medical treatments of the old west as well as keeping up with the latest western movies and television series. While she loves reading anything from highlanders to pirates, she claims to have an unquenchable thirst for the American Cowboy when choosing her reads. Kim lives south of Atlanta with her husband and calls her greatest accomplishment the birth of one daughter and the adoption of another from China-neither of which came easy. Kim is a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. Kim's Motto: It's All About A Cowboy and the Woman He Loves.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Become as Little Children

Life is a series of lessons to get us back to where we began as children.

Life was once full of excitement and adventure. 

Everything was new and exciting. 

Each day held a promise of discovery.

Laughter filled our lives. Tears were shed and forgotten, quickly and easily.

Anxiety and stress did not fill our days, if we had good parents.

For many of us, safety resided in our childhood homes. Our parents cared for us and met our needs. 

But then we learned there's evil in the world.

And life became stressful.

We began to think it all depends on us. 

But it didn't and doesn't.

When we let the Holy Spirit into our lives, he fills us, guides us. We can learn to depend on him. 

And if we mess up, there's no need to cry over spilled milk.

It's only a small little ding in the world, not worth notice.

And things work out, in ways we cannot dream of. 

And if it's meant to be, it will be. 

If it doesn't happen, life goes on.

And, in the meantime, we discover that beauty still exists. Knowledge is not held within one person. Discovery is still out there. And safety resides in our Father's arms.

Be blessed!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Center Stage: Sweet Rebel Bride by Ginny Sterling


“You might as well come on around, I heard you coming from a mile away,” a deep voice said lightly.
She groaned silently at her foolishness. Susanna thought she moved quietly, but apparently not! She put her hand down into her basket, grabbing her father’s pistol. “I am an unarmed woman, sir. My father is not far behind me,” she said calmly, her teeth clenching at how much the lie hurt her.
When he did not respond, she walked calmly around the tree and pulled her gun carefully out, catching her breath at the sight. There was a massive stain all along the left side of the man’s torso from where the soldier was bleeding heavily. The dark stain was stark against his grey uniform. He was in dire need of medical attention or he would die from blood loss. “You are injured,” Susanna said aghast, placing her gun back into her basket and kneeling beside him to inspect the wound. “And you, my dear, are not unarmed as you said,” Josiah said lightly as he realized the vision that was beside him had also been holding a very large pistol, much too big for her tiny hands to fire safely.

**** steam rating (4 out of 5)

Book Description:

Susanna Miller always wished to be a part of the fancy soirees and lavish parties of Alabama genteel society. Her debut came days before Alabama joined the Civil War. Now alone, her home ravaged by a world turned upside down, she spends her days struggling to survive and helping others on the battlefield. Her overwhelming feelings of despair and loneliness are kept behind an icy wall until she can reunite with her only remaining family. Her world changes when she finds an injured soldier that fights his way into her lonely heart, discovering love when she least expected it. Josiah Rutherford is a Southern gentleman, dedicated to family and honor. Josiah will defend his home--even if he disagrees with the Cause. Fighting for the Confederacy, he attempts to aid a fellow soldier on the battlefield that results in him nearly losing his life. Josiah yearns for the sense of security that he once had prior to the War, combined with a desperate desire to claim the heart of a lovely Southern belle.

About the author:

Ginny Sterling is a pen name for an Indie romance writer. She has lived in several different parts of the United States and settled finally in Kentucky. She spends most of her free time writing, quilting, shopping or watching a select few television shows. Ginny has a twisted fascination with collecting Starbucks coffee mugs from all over the country and adores the smell of coffee brewing. Her collection has literally filled over six kitchen cabinets...and does she stop? No. Ginny loves to write (and read) books that make her smile, laugh, or cry. She has been known to cry at Hallmark commercials and still cannot watch the movie "Titanic" or "The Notebook" to this day without bawling for hours. Softy!

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