Please welcome Crystal Barnes to my blog this week! Crystal is giving away a copy of her book Signed, Sealed and Delighted so be sure to read on down on how to enter and leave your email addy.
How many of y’all love Texas? Really? Me too. How about stories set in Texas? So glad to hear it. What about historical romances? Yeehaw! Glad we’re all on the same page. (If you’re not, well, pretend you are and maybe we’ll pull you over to the dark side, ehem, our way of thinking before the post is over. ;) heehee)
Howdy y’all! Crystal Barnes here and I’m so thrilled to be a guest today on Debbie’s blog. I brought some great ladies with me too, fellow authors in our Lone Star Love collection—Janice Thompson, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Vickie McDonough, and Marcia Gruver. We’re sharing some of what we love about Texas, a bit about our stories, and what we hope the stories will do for you, the reader. J
So kick back, grab that glass of iced tea (or lemonade if you prefer) and join me as I pepper my fellow authors with some questions.
Okay, ladies, dish. What is one of your favorite things about Texas?
Vickie McDonough: I love the bluebonnets that bloom each spring. They are such a lovely shade of blue, and to see a whole field of them is incredible. I’m also fascinated with Texas’ history. It’s so unique and embodies the spirit of America. The people who first settled there had to be brave and tenacious.
Marcia Gruver: Two things I love best about my home state of Texas are the people and the food. Whenever a group of Texans get together, we make it an occasion to serve our unique and extraordinarily delicious Texas fare, and a great time is sure to follow.
Janice Thompson: I love the sense of pride that all Texans feel. Everything really does seem bigger and better in Texas. I don't know if that has to do with the size of the state, the size of our egos, or the fact that we think we are invincible. Regardless, we love our state and we love each other.
Kathleen Y’Barbo: It's HOME!
Crystal: Amen, sister! =D It is home. No place like it on earth. Janice, I think you pegged us pretty well. Marcia, you’re making me hungry. ;)
Okay, next question—how did (or do) you get the inspiration for your story?
Kathleen: Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes it is something I overhear or read and sometimes it just "arrives".
Janice: Many years ago, I visited the Texas Panhandle and fell in love with the surroundings, the scenery, etc. It's absolutely breathtaking. I decided to write my story and set it in the panhandle so that I could pay homage to that area. Most of my novels are set in Texas and I'm particularly proud of this one.
Marcia: My husband’s job requires extensive travel, and in every small town, we’ve found a local legend or hero. It always amazes me that one single life made such an impact on the world, whether for good or evil, that they were remembered decades later. I like to incorporate some of these memorable characters into my stories, and hopefully create some memorable characters of my own. Diamond Bessie, a pivotal character in Diamond Duo, was one of these legends.
Vickie: My inspiration comes from God. I fully believe He gives me the ideas for my books, and I know He gives me the tenacity to keep plugging away, hour after hour to finish my stories.
Crystal: I’m with Vickie and Kathleen on this one. Without God, I definitely couldn’t write my stories. Any of them. And the inspiration He supplies comes from so many places or just “arrives”. J
Okay, ladies, tell us more about what you enjoy about the Lone Star Love Collection. Do you have a favorite scene? (in yours or another's story)
Janice: I love the scene where the little sister is pretending to be ill so that they will have to stay in the town of Groom. Overall, I would have to say that I love her character more than any other because of her spunk.
Kathleen: I love the first time Peony and her nemesis (our hero) meet. It's a classic "meet cute" that makes me laugh every time.
Vickie: In Unexpected Blessings, the outhouse scene gives me a chuckle, and I really like the one where the two young children go missing and the hero and heroine search for them together.
Marcia: I love humor, so I loved the scene in Crystal’s “Signed, Sealed, and Delighted” where the hero fell into a tub of soapy water, taking a partition screen along with him. In my story, Diamond Duo, my favorite funny scene is when a character accidentally gives the wrong herbal remedy to a friend, and the remedy has, shall we say, unexpected results.
Crystal: Aww, thanks, Marcia. That’s one of my favorites too. Kathleen, I think we all love those scenes that make us laugh. Vickie, I can just imagine the hilarity of that outhouse scene, and, Janice, that little gal in your book is a hoot and a half.
Final question, ladies—What do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
Marcia: The message of my book is the redemptive power of God’s grace. I tried, in delving into the tragic true life of the woman named Bessie Monroe, to show that God’s love truly covers a multitude of sin.
Vickie: Sometimes unexpected things come to us, like when Eric learned he was the guardian of two small children in Unexpected Blessings. We can balk at the unexpected, or we can embrace it and maybe receive an unexpected blessing from God.
Kathleen: That God loves us where we are and how we are. Where we came from doesn't factor in with Him. It's where we're going and whether we're going there with Him that counts.
Janice: I hope they will be entertained, of course, but I also hope they will see that folks who live in Texas… Whether they've been here all of their lives or have just arrived like the characters in my story… fall head over heels in love with the state and never want to leave.
Crystal: Such wonderful messages all wrapped in entertaining packages. I know I hope readers will laugh, but I hope they also see that God doesn’t intend for us to walk in fear, but in faith. We can trust Him with our lives.
Thanks so much, ladies, for helping me out today, and thanks to all y’all who’ve joined us here as well. Readers are awfully special, in our opinions. J
So tell us, what do y’all like best about Texas or inspirational historical romances?
I’ll be giving away a kindle copy of the Lone Star Love Collection to one of this post’s commenters. If there’s a lot of participation, I might be inclined to give away more than one. J
Signed, Sealed, and Delighted by Crystal L Barnes
Her father's dying wish changes everything... After years of working in the Cater Springs’ clinic, Sarah Asher never planned on marriage. However, she neglected to mention that to her pa. Determined to fulfill his dying wish, despite her well-informed fears, Sarah marries Joseph Matthews but only after a few signed and sealed promises. One in particular—he can kiss any dreams of sharing a room with her goodbye. Joe has never had any luck with woman, and marriage doesn’t seem prone to change that. Sarah might be a handsome filly and his only ticket to inheriting the ranch promised him, but she’s pricklier than a barrel cactus and more temperamental than a Texas tornado. Keeping his distance from her should be easy. Only it isn’t. The beautiful woman attracts trouble and constantly requires saving, putting her well within arms’ reach. Will signed promises seal their fate to a loveless marriage, or can Sarah move past her fears to find a love worth delighting in?
Diamond Duo by Marcia Gruver
Bertha Biddie is determined to win the heart of the man she loves. But just how far will she go? Thaddeus Bloom is torn between family obligations and Bertha’s love. Which path will he choose? Or will one woman’s murder change both of their fates?
Unexpected Blessings by Vickie McDonough
Anna Campbell, nanny to Molly and Mark Olson, is tasked with taking the two children she dearly loves to their uncle after the tragic death of the children’s parents. But Erik Olson thinks his brother died years ago and refuses to believe the youngsters are his kin. Anna would keep them if she could, but she can barely provide for herself. The children need their uncle. How can she convince the stubborn man that he also needs them?
Last Groom in Town by Janice Thompson
Always the groomsman, never the groom… It’s 1914, and Jake O’Farrell has gained an unusual reputation among the locals: He’s played the roles of groomsman and best man in all four of his older brothers’ weddings, but he’s never been able to find the woman to capture his heart. And now with the upcoming wedding of his best friend, Jake will become the last single man in the town of Groom. Anne Denning has made the difficult decision to move with her sisters to Texas, but a train derailment forces them to seek shelter in Groom, near Amarillo. Mrs. O’Farrell, hopeful that Anne will catch her youngest son’s eye, invites the girls to stay at her home until the train is repaired and ready to pull out. Anne has no idea of the blissful chaos that lies ahead!
The Marrying Kind by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Anything can happen when four meddlesome, retired Texas Rangers try their hand at matchmaking. As the deadline for leaving draws near, meetings are held to foil Sheriff Rafe Wilson's plans to leave Cut Creek and the infuriating dressmaker Peony Potter behind. Will Rafe follow in his father's footsteps and join up with the Texas Rangers or will a miracle keep him home where he belongs?
Crystal L Barnes is an award-winning author, who also happens to be a born-n-raised Texan and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She has a degree in Computing Science because she loves putting things into their proper place, and she enjoys writing because she gets to share her love of old-fashioned things and the Lord. When she's not writing or reading, Crystal enjoys watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy is one of her favorites. You can connect with Crystal at her website http://www.crystal-barnes.com, her Amazon Author page, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+, or on her Facebook author page.