Monday, July 16, 2018

Shadowed by a Spy by Marilyn Turk ends July 23rd

Please welcome Marilyn Turk to my blog this week. Read on down to find out how to enter in her giveaway!

Discovering a Book
People often ask me where I get the ideas for my books. Their question implies I’m creative and that I come up with these ideas all by myself.
Not true. You see, I’m a historical writer, so I like to explore history and find interesting facts about different periods in various places. Not that I bury my head in research books, but sometimes I stumble upon a fascinating tidbit or see an old building that piques my interest.

Then I wonder what it was like to live at that time in that place when certain things happened. That’s when the people (characters) show up in my mind and tell me about it. A story idea takes root in my little brain as I dig into the history and let the characters show me around. I follow them and see what they do, and the details come out when I begin to write the story.
It may sound cliché, but as a Christian, I firmly believe God leads me to each story and reveals to me the lesson the characters will learn once they survive the conflicts, both external and internal. Many times, this belief has been affirmed when I find a detail that I need to make the story work, one I didn’t know existed until I began to write the story. No doubt God put that detail there for me to find.

So, I’m not creative. Actually, I’m more of a literary archaeologist. I dig around in history and discover stories, then I write them. And because I’m not creative, just curious and committed to what God has given me, I have to give Him the credit.
What about you? Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in a different era? Have you ever seen an old mansion and wanted to know who lived there?
My latest book, Shadowed by a Spy, is a good example of the above. After readers read The Gilded Curse, they asked what happened to the main characters after the book ended? So I had to figure out where they went and what historical event happened at that time, and guess what? They just happened to be to be part of it!

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of one of my books.

About Marilyn:

Marilyn Turk writes historical fiction set on the coast. The Gilded Curse, a World War II novel, published in 2016, won a Silver Scroll award and its sequel, Shadowed by a Spy, debuts in July 2018. Rebel Light and Revealing Light are the first two books of her Coastal Lights Legacy featuring stories in lighthouse settings. In addition, Marilyn’s novella, The Wrong Survivor, will be in a collection called Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides coming out in November 2018. She has also written a book of devotions called Lighthouse Devotions. She blogs about lighthouses and writing on her website @ In addition to climbing lighthouses, Marilyn enjoys boating, fishing, tennis, and gardening.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Firestorm by Laura V Hilton ends July 16th

Please welcome Laura V Hilton to my blog this week. 
Read on down to find out how to enter her giveaway.


Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where
she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.

Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.

As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.

Michigan pasty recipe

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shortening
1 ¼ cups ice water
1 t salt
5 ½ cups sliced potatoes
2 carrots sliced
1 onion diced
½ cup diced rutabaga
2 lbs venison (can also use beef or pork stew meat or ground beef and pork)
1 T salt
1 t black pepper
1 cube beef bouillon
½ cup hot water

Whisk together flour and 1 t salt into large bowl, cut in shortning. Make a well in the center of he mixture, and quickly stir in ice cold water. Form dough into a ball. Set aside.

Dissolve the beef bouillon cube in hot water. Combine uncooked vegetables, uncooked meat, 1 T salt and pepper with the bouillon.

Roll out pasty dough  into 6 x 8 inch rectangles. Place about 1 ½ cups of filling in the center of each rectangle. Bring 6 inch sides together, and seal. Cut a slit in the top of each pasty. Place on dull, not black, baking pans.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Have you had or made pasties before? If so do you like them? What is your favorite thing you make? 

Answer one of the above questions to be entered to win Firestorm. Don't forget to leave your email addy.


Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Purchase my books:

Monday, July 2, 2018

Avalanche by Gayla K. Hiss ends July 9th

3 Tales of Romance and Adventure in the National Parks 

One of my favorite pastimes is to visit our beautiful national parks. In fact, my husband and I have traveled to 11 different national parks and monuments this year alone. Hiking to a romantic lake or waterfall in the mountains, watching wildlife, or stargazing while relaxing around a campfire are just a few of the activities I enjoy in these delightful destinations. Something about being in nature always fills me with excitement and a sense of adventure. That’s why I chose national park settings for the books in my inspirational romantic suspense series, Peril in the Park. 

It all began with a hike in the Cascade Mountains during the summer. Some of the trails were closed due the avalanche danger—what? In July? That’s right. Intrigued by the discovery that avalanches can indeed happen in the middle of summer, I wrote a story about a female park ranger and a U.S. marshal on a manhunt in the mountains, and AVALANCHE became the first book in my Peril in the Park series. Set in the spectacular North Cascades National Park, the story is full of adventure and suspense in an exhilarating natural setting. 

The second book, DANGEROUS GROUND, picks up with a female marshal and her handsome Good Samaritan in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’ve been to the Smokies a number of times, which gave me plenty to draw from as I wrote the story. I also had fun with the fictional nearby town of Tyler’s Glen. The rural community nestled in the scenic mountains is an idyllic vacation site—except for the mystery that surrounds it and threatens the town’s peaceful existence. 

WILDFIRE is the third book of the series and is set in yet another magnificent location, Rocky Mountain National Park. When I think of the Rockies, I think of gigantic, rugged mountain peaks and fascinating animals like elk, moose, and bighorn sheep. However, in the summer months, wildfires can threaten the park and its wildlife. Over the last year and a half, I saw the devastation wildfires can bring to national parks like Great Smoky Mountains and Glacier, and it raised my awareness of the important role fire managers and firefighters perform by managing wildfires and helping to preserve our national parks. It also inspired me to write this story about a female wildfire scientist and a firefighter who team up to solve the mystery behind the outbreak of wildfires in the Rockies. 

A common theme in my books is getting back to the simple things in life like faith, family, and the land. To me, there’s nothing more enjoyable and restorative than going camping outdoors and connecting with God, the Creator. We are so blessed to have our national park system. I want future generations to value and enjoy them too. 

With 59 national parks and 117 national monuments in the U.S. alone, there are plenty of destinations to choose from. Whether you prefer the mountains, the seashore, the desert, or caves, there is a park for everyone. And if you can’t go there in person, you can still enjoy these fascinating places through the many stories written about them. So visit a park (or read about one) and rediscover the beauty and wonder of Creation. But beware—once you’ve experienced life in the wild, you might just become a park-aficionado like me. Happy Adventures!

Book Giveaway Question: What is your favorite national park and why?
Winner will receive a print signed copy of my book AVALANCHE.
Leave a comment answering the above question and your email addy to be entered. 


Will Rachael and Dylan escape the fire’s fury, or
perish in the flames?       
Sparks fly when wildfire researcher Rachael Woodston clashes with firefighter Dylan Veracruz in Rocky Mountain National Park. The June fire season has just begun, yet a long-standing drought has already turned the park into a tinderbox. Rachael’s computer data indicates the fire Dylan’s crew is fighting is about to accelerate, but he doesn’t believe her—until the fire suddenly gets out of control and they have to evacuate.

Suspecting arson, Rachael and Dylan join forces in search of answers and soon discover that chasing fires isn’t all they have in common—they’re both survivors of deep loss. However, their difference of opinion about faith keeps them at arm’s length, despite a growing attraction. As the danger escalates, Rachael and Dylan soon find themselves in a firestorm they cannot escape. All seems lost until Rachael has a profound encounter that restores her faith and gives her hope. The close call also fuels her determination to stop the fiend behind the flames. But can she and Dylan solve the mystery and extinguish their enemy before disaster strikes again?

ABOUT Gayla K. Hiss:

Gayla’s writing journey began with her hobby painting landscapes. In her imagination, characters and scenes came to life as she painted beautiful natural settings. Her inspiring novels combine her love for the great outdoors with romance, suspense, and mystery. Gayla and her husband often tour the country in their RV, visiting many state and national parks. She enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling, and lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s excited to announce the soon release of WILDFIRE, book 3 in her Peril in the Park series, which can be purchased on Amazon at: Visit to learn more, and connect with her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Gayla’s website is:

Amazon Author Page:
Purchase WILDFIRE on Amazon at:

Monday, June 25, 2018

Rag Doll by Sherri Stewart ends July 2nd

Please welcome Sherri Stewart to my blog this week. 
Sherri is giving away a copy of Rag Doll. Read on down on how to enter. 

Scruffy or Handsome?
By Sherri Stewart
In many romance novels or novellas, the lead males are handsome. They have sapphire blue eyes, chocolate brown eyes, or emerald ones that sparkle, probe, and have the ability to see into the soul. Their hair is chestnut or chocolate, but never brown or red. Whenever they touch the female lead, electricity happens. We used to call it static electricity, usually caused by the heat inside during the winter months—the same sensation that causes socks to stick to the back of our skirts and our hair to fly up after being brushed.
In many of my books, the scruffy guy is overlooked for the handsome guy, but Mr. Scruffy usually wins in the end. It takes time to fall for a scruffy-looking guy. His clothes need pressing and his car smells like a locker room. My husband’s Vega came by the smell honestly—the backseat was full of hockey skates. But I noticed things about Bobby—the way he searched for a watering can for a Russian defenseman who was having trouble growing a houseplant. Or the way he always brought me back a candy bar or a keychain from whatever city the team was playing in.
In Rag Doll, Ben Farris is handsome and tall and rich. But he’s also kind. He stands up for the underdog; when he makes a promise, he keeps it; and cares deeply about God. Because of his strong character, his eyes sparkle, his teeth gleam, and his touch could start a car.
Appearance can get in the way of sound judgment. In I Samuel 16:7, God warned Samuel about Saul. “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I’m so glad I wasn’t deceived by the polished, debonair Patricks of my youth. Patrick’s character was as bland as a piece of paper. I’m more than glad that I gave the scruffy guy a second glance.

1. How important is appearance in first impressions with regard to romance?
2. What are the three essentials to look for in a romantic relationship? 
3. For those of you who have been in a relationship for a long time, has your list of essentials changed over the years? 

GIVEAWAY: Sherri is giving away a copy of her book Rag Doll. To enter her giveaway answer one of the above questions. Don't forget to leave your email addy!

About Sherri:
Sherri Stewart loves a good suspense novel, sprinkled with romance and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Her hobby is traveling to potential settings for future stories. Next stop: Israel. Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her family and lazy dog, Lily. She loves to chat with readers about their ideas and questions.

Social Media Contacts
Amazon Author Page

Books by Sherri Stewart

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Backcountry Brides Collection with Carrie Fancett Pagels ends June 25th

Please welcome my sweet friend, Carrie Fancett Pagels this week! I'm so glad she could be here with us. Be sure to read on down to learn about her giveaway!

When The Voices Won’t Quit
Carrie Fancett Pagels

I was a psychologist for twenty-five years (and thought I would be until when I expected to retire at about seventy—then I would write for the Lord.) God had other plans. But in any case, don’t worry about me hearing voices—they are the characters I write. When you read about authors such as James Scott Bell talking about the “boys in the basement” I think—I’ve got a lot of ladies in the attic calling out to me. They want to be written into existence. Some characters won’t stop until they have their stories told. I have to think those are the ones God wants written and shared. Magda, in “Shenandoah Hearts” in The Backcountry Brides Collection (Barbour, May 2018)  is one of those heroines.

Magda Sehler lives in Philadelphia with her family from the Palatinate of Germany (which at that time was composed of several duchies). Some of her family members had to indenture themselves to get the family transported. Her mother is a semi-invalid (loosely modeled after myself as I am disabled from Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disorder.) Magda is a talented silversmith. Jacob Owens, her employer, calls her Ladysmith.

I’m all about following God’s lead and overcoming with His help (my blog is and my tagline is Hearts Overcoming Through Time). I think that’s why Jacob’s and Magda’s story had to be told—they are both following God’s lead and once they are where He has put them, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, they face much to overcome.

So, how do characters start rattling the chains on the attic door? I might read something for research in colonial America (I have another group blog and think—wow, wouldn’t that possible character have that as part of her story arc. I might be driving and see something. On a trip back from a research trip in Michigan, we drove by the sign for Ladysmith in Virginia. Now I had seen that sign a whole bunch of times, but driving back into Virginia and having just finaled in the prestigious Holt Medallion contest for my Virginia-set romance novella, The Steeplechase, things began to click. My brain was primed for unlocking that attic door and “hanging out” with Magda as a lady silversmith. Other times, I could simply be doing something, e.g., cooking something, and a character may “speak to me” saying that they do that kind of thing or they do it a different way and so I’ve learned a little something more about them.

If you’ve seen the movie about Charles Dickens as he wrote A Christmas Carol, then you get a glimpse into how some writers develop their characters. Sometimes Characters show up. But it is really only when they begin to “talk” to you that you begin to understand them. How they move. How they speak. The cadence or rhythm of their speech. Their facial expressions. Once they really bring their voice to some authors, like myself, it becomes impossible to ignore them until they are released onto the page. Often they love to show up just at bedtime and show a mini-reel of their “movie” to me. That’s usually a clue I better start writing their story or lose a lot of sleep!

You can read a portion of the collection here 

Blurb: Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1754 - Great Wagon Road, into the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia)
As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

Questions: If you are a writer, how do your characters reveal themselves to you? If you’re a reader, are you surprised that this is how some characters come to an author?

Giveaway: Answer one of the above questions for a chance to win Carrie's a signed paperback copy of The Backcountry Brides with stories by Carrie, Shannon McNear, Pegg Thomas, Debra E. Marvin, Angela Couch, Denise Weimer, Gabrielle Meyer, and Jennifer Hudson Taylor.

Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at 

My Pinterest page for 18th Century clothing


Check at your local Christian bookstores, e.g., Lifeway, to see if they have copies, too!

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Widow's Plight by Mary Davis ends June 18th

Please welcome Mary Davis to my blog this weekend. Mary is giving away a PDF e-copy of The Widow's Plight. Read on down to find out how to enter. 


I love my home state of Washington. I live on the western side of the state. The rainy side. The GREEN side!
I love how fresh and clean the rain makes the air smell and how green it makes everything.
And I love setting stories in my home state. Whenever I get the chance, I try to set my stories here, but I’m not tied to that. Not every story I want to write is suited to take place in Washington, and I’m good with that.
So when deciding where to set my Quilting Circle series, I naturally looked at Washington first. After considering the state as a whole and deciding “yes” Washington will work well, I looked at areas I have lived in before because I have a knowledge base to start with.

After some consideration, I chose the town where I went to college, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use a “real” town or not. As a writer, this is a question I face with each story. Real town? Or fictional? I have used both, and both have their strengths and weaknesses.
“Real Town” strengths; it’s already there so I don’t have to make up the town layout and such, readers can recognize the town therefore connecting with it, and readers get excited when their town (or a town they know) is mentioned in a book. Weaknesses; it’s already platted and the layout might not suit the needs of the story, readers recognize the town and someone will know when one tiny thing is wrong (even in a historical), and readers get pulled out of a story if the town doesn’t feel like the town they know or don’t have key figures they would expect.
“Fictional Town” strengths; the sky is the limit. I can layout the town to best suit the story. I won’t get the details wrong because it’s my own creation. Weaknesses; it doesn’t have that real-life personal connection, readers won’t recognize it, and with nothing concrete to look back to, I might forget things when the second book (which I’m currently writing) comes along and misplace a building or two.
So I chose a fictional town based off of a real town because my characters would be moving around in town a lot. But those who know Ellensburg will recognize it as such.

Now came the task of naming my town. I decided to name it after my residents hall, Kamola, and named a couple of the college professors in the boarding house after another residents hall (Mr. Lumbard) and the dining hall (Mr. Tunstall). Whenever I read those names it take me back to my college days.
In a novella that released in January 2018, I set the story in the real town of Ellensburg. Well, not really in the town but outside of it on a cattle ranch. I chose the real town name for two reasons. One, I loved my college years in Ellensburg and wanted to use it. Two, my characters weren’t in town much, just at the train station, so using the real town name worked well.
So to answer my title question, “Where in the world is the town of Kamola?” In my imagination, so wherever I am, there is Kamola. And wherever the reader is, there is Kamola also. =0)

Do you prefer reading stories set in real towns—even if the author changes some of the details to suit the story—or fictional where everything is fresh and new?
Answer the above question to be entered to win a PDF e-copy of The Widow's Plight. Don't forget to leave your email.

THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series. Washington State, 1893.

   When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?

   Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother. Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?
   THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT will release in ebook on July 1, and will be out in paperback by mid-June.

About Mary:
MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has five titles releasing in 2018; "Holly & Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection in January, Courting Her Amish Heart in March, The Widow’s Plight in July, Courting Her Secret Heart September, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December. She’s a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren.

Monday, May 28, 2018

To Claim Her Heart by Jodie Wolfe ends June 4th

Please welcome Jodie Wolfe to my blog this week. Be sure to read on down to find out how to enter to win her new book!

History, Quilt, and Heritage
By Jodie Wolfe

This September 16th will mark the 125th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. If you ever saw the movie Far and Away, you’ve seen an accurate portrayal of the last great race for land in the United States. The land up for grabs was over 6.5 million acres in Oklahoma Territory. Nine different starting places were set up on both the Kansas and Oklahoma borders. 42,000 packets of land were available.

It was a desperate time in our Nation. Troubles with the railroads had caused the stock market to plummet, throwing the country into chaos. Banks closed or foreclosed on loans. Many places of business that were supported by the railroads had to shut their doors. Perhaps the state of the economic slump is why over 115,000 people showed up to race for land in Oklahoma Territory.

This race is of particular interest to me because several of my husband’s relatives participated in that race and found land. My mother-in-law introduced the topic to me 21 years ago. I vividly remember when I traveled to Oklahoma with her and saw the place where one of her relatives had staked a claim. My sons and I were able to see the house that was built into the side of a hill in 1894. They first had built a sod house, but it didn’t last very long.

By the time I saw the house, it was in a state of disrepair. It was gutted inside and parts of it were falling apart. A small creek trailed through the land, and the Gloss (Glass) Mountains were nearby. I could easily imagine characters trekking across the area.

My mother-in-law shared stories of an outlaw gang and my husband’s great, great, great grandmother’s encounter with them. I made sure to include this story in my recent release, To Claim Her Heart.

One of the favorite memories Mom shared with me concerns a Rose of Sharon quilt. From what I’ve been able to research, this quilt was first stitched by a family member in 1834. It’s a unique pattern and was often known as a ‘signature’ piece. At that time, twelve different quilts were stitched for a young lady. One was a signature piece that was unique—special. This quilt was typically only brought out on special occasions in the bride’s lifetime. I have the privilege of having this quilt passed down to me. It’s always been given to the oldest daughter. Since my mother-in-law only had sons, she gave it to me.

I mention the quilt because it has ties to the Cherokee Strip Land Run. It’s believed to have been brought along when my husband’s relatives participated in the race.

While my mother-in-law never lived to see this story in print, I’m thankful that she shared her rich heritage with me. How about you, do you have any significant stories that have been passed down through the generations that you’d like to share? Do you have any items from relatives that you inherited?
In memory of my mother-in-law, I’ll be giving away a print copy (US only) of my new book, To Claim Her Heart. (ebook for outside US) To be entered to win answer Jodie's question in the comment and don't forget to leave your email so we can contact you. 

Back Cover Blurb:
In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his 'Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn't counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith's only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land's not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She's willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie's determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.


Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior's faithfulness and forgiveness. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW and RWA. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at


Purchase Link for Mrs. Wigglesworth's Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society: