Monday, December 5, 2016

Hopeful Heart by Diane Kalas ends 12/12

Please welcome Diane Kalas back to my blog. Diane is giving away and ebook copy of Hopeful Heart to one luck commenter so be sure to leave a comment as well as your email address so we can notify you. Let me know if you are a feedburner follower for an extra entry! 

HOPEFUL HEART is the last story in my 3-book Journey Home Series. The series is about three Civil War POWs who met in the infamous Andersonville Prison for Union soldiers and survived because of their friendship and Christian faith. Each book features one of the memorable heroes and a unique heroine that’s perfect for him.  

HOPEFUL HEART, Journey Home Series 3

An inspirational historical romance set in the West

Pennsylvania. November 1866 –Lucy Garner is a recent widow who just buried her stillborn. Grieving the loss of two people she loved the most in her world, she decides to journey out West and escape her adopted father’s stepson whose intentions strike terror into her being. She goes to work for a difficult and unprepared family, headed to Oregon by wagon train.

Missouri. November 1866 - Nat Renshaw’s boyish good looks disguise his intense personality.

Before the war, his cheating wife died and he gave up on marriage. He joined the Union Army and became a Confederate POW with enough anger to power a locomotive. These events did not improve his outlook on life. Since the war ended, he’s elected sheriff for a river town.

Oregon Trail. March 1867 – Lucy’s arresting features and gentle spirit attract Nat Renshaw’s unwanted interest as he scouts for Lucy’s wagon train. Lucy’s distrustful of Nat’s determination for romance, but ends up admiring his courage and faith in God. Can Lucy open her heart for another chance at love amid the trials of the Oregon Trail?


Diane collects antique books written by men and women who lived through the American Civil War, and/or who pioneered out West. With a degree in interior design, she enjoys touring historical sites, especially Federal era homes with period furniture. Diane is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Published writers Pamela Griffin and Gina Welborn have been critique partners and mentors. Diane’s biggest challenge is writing Inspirational Historical Romance. Her biggest distraction is her fascination with historical research.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Seven Brides for Seven Texans with Vicky McDonough ends December 5th

Please welcome my friend, Vicky McDonough to The Sword and Spirit blog! Vicky is giving away a copy of  Seven Brides for Seven Texans so ask Vicky a question or comment on her post to be entered. Don't forget to leave your email address to be entered and let me know if you are a feed burner follower for an extra entry!

Seven cowboy brothers living on a massive Texas ranch—what’s not to love?

When the concept for this collection was proposed to me and I was invited to be a part of it, I was immediately intrigued and agreed. Having done other collections about families, I knew it would be a bit daunting to keep track of so many brothers and their personalities, different looks and mannerisms, not to mention the ranch staff, and the townsfolk who lived in the closest town, named Hartville, after the Hart family, but it can also be quite rewarding. A collection like this takes extra work to keep every little detail straight. I thought you might enjoy a peek into how one of these closely connected collections is created.

The Master Document started with the most basic info. Note: Each brother had his own “color” and every time he’s mentioned, his name was highlighted to make it easy to find.

The authors and the story order in the collection:
1 - Gabrielle Meyer -  HAYS (Son #7) First Comes Love
2 - Lorna Seilstad - CHISHOLM (Son #6) The Heart of Texas
3 - Amanda Barratt - TRAVIS (Son #3) The Truest Heart
4 - Keli Gwyn - HOUSTON (Son #4) A Love Returned
5 - Susan Page Davis  - CROCKETT (Son #5) For Love or Money
6 - Vickie McDonough - AUSTIN (Son #1) Mail Order Mayhem
7 - Erica Vetsch - BOWIE (Son #2) Love at Last

The group coordinator, Erica Vetsch, created a thirty-one page, highly-detailed master document, which contained a timeline of the stories, a synopsis of each novella (obtained from the authors), and much more. Here’s the story concept that was included:

Patriarch of the Hart family, George Washington Hart isn’t getting any younger. He’s got seven strapping sons, and not a one of them has had the decency to marry and produce an heir. It is time for George to meddle. He will divide his massive ranch in the Texas Hill country, the 7-Heart, among his sons with the provision that each one marry and settle on the land within the next year. The men, ranging in age from 21-34, all named after famous Texans, are resistant to the idea of settling down, but they’ll be hanged if they’ll lose their inheritance! Each sets about finding a bride in his own way, and in the end, each finds love deep in the heart of Texas.

Erica also created a detailed timeline of the family’s history in Texas. I added the info in parentheses for reader clarity. Here’s a little peek:

1858 Regalo(The Hart’s fancy home) is built as a gift from GW to Victoria (his wife)

1860/61 Houston Hart leaves Texas for California just days before his 18th birthday.

1861 The Civil War begins, Austin, Bowie, Travis enlist in the Confederate Army to fight for Texas’ freedom.
Part of General Hood’s Texas Brigade, they fought at every major battle of the Northern Army of Virginia except Chancellorsville. (Infantry)

1863 Bowie Hart wounded and captured at Gettysburg, spends the rest of the war in a Union Prison. First at the Fort Slocum hospital in NY, then at Elmira Prison. Family is told Bowie died at Gettysburg.

1863, Crockett Hart enlists the day after they bury his mother, Victoria Hart, dies.

Each novella had a section that included a picture of the hero and heroine, a short summary, and the full synopsis. Here are pictures of my main characters, Austin Hart and Rebekah Evans.

At the end of all the synopses info, was a section titled: EXTRAS: Characters, places, pictures and maps. It included detailed info of the various secondary characters that worked on the ranch and lived in Hartsville. Here’s a sample:

Cody - A young cocky blond haired/blue eyed cowboy who tends to flirt with the potential brides.
Gage A hardworking wrangler in his early twenties with dark blond hair, which stands straight up in a short haircut. He's Hays Hart's best friend and loves to play practical jokes around the ranch.

We had pictures of the massive Hart home, both inside and out. There was also a blueprint of the home to refer back to so that we kept the rooms straight from one story to the next, as well as a map of Hartsville. We even had pictures of the longhorn cattle on the 7-Heart Ranch and Bowie’s dogs. Massive kudos go to Erica for creating the Master Document. I shudder to think how convoluted things might have gotten without it.

Being a former bookkeeper, I like spreadsheets, so I created a quick-reference chart with key details. I’m posting the majority of the chart but I left off a few things like eye & hair color so it would fit on the page, but this gives you a good idea of what it looked like:

Birth Order
Author & Story order

Birth Yr
Vickie - 6
Stephen "Austin" Hart
Leader, tough, decisive, protective of family
Erica - 7
James "Bowie" Hart
Reliable, tough, watchful
Doesn’t want help
Doesn’t want help
Amanda - 3
William "Travis" Hart
Calm, steadying demeanor
Reserved. To heal and help people after war took so many lives
Reserved. To heal and help people after war took so many lives.
Keli - 4
Sam "Houston" Hart
Idealist, intuitive
Avoids conflict
Avoids conflict
Susan - 5
Davy "Crockett" Hart
Hard worker, very loyal
Lacks confidence, feels overshadowed by his dad and brothers
Lacks confidence, feels overshadowed by his dad and brothers
Lorna - 2
Jesse “Chisholm” Hart
Easy-going, fun, cool-headed, duty-bound
Feels like he can never measure up
Feels like he can never measure up
Gabrielle - 1
John Coffee "Hays" Hart
Easy-Going, confident, charming, fiercely loyal
Doesn't like confrontation, will stuff his true feelings if he thinks they will hurt someone he loves

There you have it. Collections that are closely connected are lots of fun for readers, but they can be a bit daunting for the authors who create them. But as with any task, hard work usually results in something you can be proud of. Time will tell what readers think of Seven Bride for Seven Texans. It releases on December 1st, but you can pre-order it now.

Buy link:

Check out the Seven Brides for Seven Texans Pinterest page that Erica Vetsch set up:

Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is an award-winning author of more than 40 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, winner of the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel Award. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series placed second in the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Vickie has recently stepped into independent publishing.

Vickie has been married for forty-one years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and a precocious granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, doing stained glass, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Love in the Seams by Jodie Wolfe ends 11/28

 Love in the Seams by Jodie Wolfe
Welcome back, Jodie and thank you for offering to give away a print copy of your new book (US only). It's been about six months since you were last featured on my blog. What has changed in your life since then?

Thank you for having me back, Debbie. Much has happened in my life over these past months. The most exciting is that I had a new granddaughter added to our family in August. She's a sweet blessing.

On the writing front, I found out I finaled in three contests I had entered. I signed a book contract with Celebrate Lit, and my new novella came out on November 2nd.

Wow! You have had a lot going on. Can you tell us a little bit about your new book?

I'd love to. Here's the back cover copy.

Mae Stafford longs for the companionship and unconditional love her sister has found in her new husband. But after years of refusing potential suitors because of a pact they made as children, Mae no longer has any choices left once their agreement is broken. She's given up hope that God will give her what she desires most, a family of her own. Instead of dwelling on what she doesn't have, she throws herself into her work as the recent sole owner of the local dress shop.

As a promise made to his late wife, Johannes Mueller agrees to travel west to be a school teacher in Calder Springs, Texas, away from the bigotry associated with being an immigrant in New York City. He hopes to improve his life and forget his loss. Johannes isn't counting on his five-year-old daughter's search for a new mother when they arrive. His little LillyAnn finds ways to bring the seamstress and him together…often. Can he learn to embrace his German heritage and unlock his heart to love again?

I understand this is book two in your Twins & Needles Series. Do you plan to have a book three?

I left the possibility open to have an additional book. We'll see whether readers want ranch hand, Slim to have his own happily-ever-after. :) For now I'll be working on my contracted story and other ideas are brewing.

Could you give readers a sneak peak to Love in the Seams?

It would be my pleasure. Here's the opening page of my story.

October 1875, Calder Springs, Texas
“Will you be my new mama?”

Mae Stafford startled at the small child standing beside her elbow and nearly dropped the garment she’d been sewing. She hadn’t heard the bell chime on the door to her dress shop. Golden strands slipped free of the single plait running down the girl’s back. “Why, I … ”

Nein, mein tochter.” A towering blond man placed a hand on the pixie’s shoulder. The gruff sounds of his language were somehow soothing.  “You’ll have to excuse my daughter.” His gaze didn’t quite meet Mae’s. “Sometimes she forgets—”

“But, Papa. She’s the lady we saw a few months ago with the beautiful white dress.”

Warmth flooded Mae’s cheeks, and she cleared her throat. “You must be thinking of my twin sister, Ellie. She, uh, got married in the beginning of summer.”

“What’s a twin?” Her nose wrinkled.

“It means that both my sister and I were born at the same time. We look alike, although not all twins do.” Mae refrained from touching the child’s shoulder.

The girl leaned against Mae’s leg and stared at her face. “Do you have a husband and children?”

You have me intrigued. How can readers stay in touch with you?

Thank you for hosting me here today, Debbie. I truly appreciate it. May God bless you and your readers.