Wednesday Writers –Laura V. Hilton and Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

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Today’s Wednesday Writers’ guest is Laura Hilton, back visiting with a recipe from her upcoming November 2017 release. Laura’s story, Carousel Christmas, is part of the Winter’s Kiss Collection which has six Christmas romances with a Christian message from bestselling authors.

I don’t know about you, but mint, chocolate, and brownies are three of my favorite things. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

Winter’s Kiss releases November 7, and is up for presale now on Amazon

 

Carousel Christmas

By Laura V. Hilton

Romance sparks for Noelle and Nick as they work together to decorate the carousel barn and relationships begin to be healed.

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

 TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min. + chilling

YIELD: 72 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 c sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can (about 16 ounces) chocolate syrup
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • FILLING:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 T water
  • 1/2 t mint extract
  • 3 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 package (about 10 ounces) mint chocolate chips or semi-sweet
  • 1 stick plus 1 T butter, cubed

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in syrup and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well.
  • Pour into a greased 13×9-in. baking pan. Bake 30 minutes (top of brownies will still appear wet). Cool on a wire rack.
  • For filling, in a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar; add water, extract and food coloring until blended. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate until set.
  • For topping, melt chocolate chips and butter. Cool 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread over filling. Chill. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 5-6 dozen.

About the Author:

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost 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 and Putting on the New.

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.

Connect with Laura at:

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q 

visit my blogs: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/  & http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/ 

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Laura-V-Hilton/161478847242512

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/

 

Purchase my books:

 Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q 

CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=laura+hilton&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/laura-hilton?store=allproducts&keyword=laura+hilton

Deeper Shopping http://www.deepershopping.com/index.php?query=laura+hilton&x=0&y=0&module=productsearch&_logmode=Y&querymodule=SPX

 

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Wednesday Writers Welcomes Darlene Franklin and The Captive Brides collection

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I’m welcoming back the prolific author Darlene Franklin to the blog. She’ll be telling us about how prostitution plays out her story, His Golden Treasure, which is one of the books in the Captive Brides collection. Welcome, Darlene.

Thanks, Catherine.
When I was invited to participate in the Captive Brides collection, my thoughts flew to the many women caught in the whirlpool of prostitution. Whether drug addiction, poor self-esteem, lack of options, or even being sold for a price, woman as far back as the time of the Patriarchs until today have been forced to give their bodies to men.
Perhaps conditioned by the Barbary Coast episodes in Bonanza and Big Valley, or possibly the short-lived William Shatner vehicle, I decided I would take the dare and write about the street now known as Maiden Lane in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast.

A prostitute’s daughter—raised in a brothel after her mother died—expected to join the ranks at the appropriate time. How could I make it more interesting?

The talents an author much more brilliant than I am: Amy Tan. In her story, The Valley of Amazement, she spoke of a courtesan’s daughter whose first night was sold at auction.

Aha! She couldn’t possibly repay. How can the preacher who falls in love with her save her from her despair?

His Golden Treasure is one of nine amazing novellas in Captive Brides. This is one of the best collections I’ve ever been involved with.

His Golden Treasure
By Darlene Franklin

Goldie Hatfield grows up on in the Barbary Coast until her guardian demands she pay the cost of her upbringing–or work at her brothel. How far will Pastor Joshua Kerr go to set Goldie free?

You can find the Captive Brides collection and Darlene’s novella at Amazon

 

About the Author:

Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. Mermaid Song is her fiftieth unique title! She’s also contributed to more than twenty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears in five monthly venues. Other recent titles are  Christmas MasqueradeHer Rocky Mountain Highness, and Take Me Home. You can find her online at: Website and blogFacebookAmazon author page

A Writer’s Garden Welcomes Susan B. James

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I love gardens with a passion. But I am a terrible gardener. I love to see gardens. Not do the work. As a result most of the plantings around my house are the kind that don’t need a lot of work, but provide me with great joy in viewing them.

When I bought this home the back fence wall was partially covered in bougainvillea. Hot pink and orange. Zero maintenance and I loved it.

Behind the wall was an ugly shed. Well, that had to be disguised. I bought lattice work and planted morning glory. I wanted very blue morning glory so I was told to add iron nails to the dirt. It worked. I also planted hollyhocks because I wanted to show my child friends how to make dolls from the flowers. I also added two huge pots for tomatoes and rosemary and basil.

In the front we had a window which caught sun all day and turned the room into a sauna. We solved this problem by planning a wall of Jasmine in front of the window. On the far left of the wall are pink coneflowers. On the right, near the door is the most glorious climbing red rose. The scents in season are intoxicating.

In 2010 my sister, Kelly came to take care of me after I had open heart surgery. While she was here, she planted me a red hibiscus in memory of our Hawaii home. After six years it finally bloomed. I smile every time I see it.

I always wanted to have an artichoke plant. So I got two. Do you know what happens to an artichoke when you get involved in writing and forget to pick it? Huge Purple Thistles. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Three years ago a dear friend of mine made me a fairy garden. I put it on my front porch for everyone to admire. This may be my favorite garden of all. My new ambition is to make one myself. I have a pot and a fairy and some beautiful stones. Now I need the plants and the time to create something magical.

In the meantime I continue to write gardens in my books.

 

About the gardener author:

Susan writes mainstream steamy second chance romances with a touch of magic as Susan B. James and children’s books as Susan J. Berger.

In her debut romance, Time and Forever, two women in their sixties inadvertently travel back to London in 1969. Maybe This Time, also time travel, came out in July. Both books feature scenes in one of Susan’s favorite gardens –Kensington Garden in London.

Susan’s other career is acting.Last year, among other things, she killed Kathy Bates on American Horror Story. This she, among other things, she got stabbed by a pen on Future Man and played the victim on Major Crimes. Karma? Who knows what’s next. The joy is in the journey.

Visit Susan at her blog: http://www.susanbjames.blogspot.com/ because she hosts lots of authors and giveaways.

Warning to readers of sweet or inspirational romance: Susan’s book may contain open door love scenes.

 

A Writer’s Garden-Bird Watching in the Garden with Wendy L. MacDonald

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Rufous Hummingbird

According to Dorothy Frances Gurney, we can’t get closer to God than when we are in a garden. I’ve noticed there’s something else you can come closer to while working or resting in one’s own garden—birds. Many times I’ve been blessed by visits from feathered friends who’ve landed in nearby branches as I sip afternoon coffee or give a sip of water to my flowers.

Flycatcher

When I first started taking pictures of my property, I focused on the flowers, trees, and bees. But as I spent more time photographing, I noticed the birds in my neighborhood became more comfortable with my presence. They started hanging out closer to me. And as long as I didn’t overstay my welcome in their space, I was blessed with birdwatching opportunities without having to drive to a nature park.

Bushtit

The key to taking advantage of wildlife in one’s own garden is to be prepared. Having your camera nearby and ready is worth the forethought it takes when a lovely creature shows up in one of your trees. Often, I leave my camera by the backdoor so I can quickly reach in and grab it when opportunities arrive. During peak birdwatching season, I usually keep it with me when I’m outside. Some birds are shy and don’t sit still long enough for you to click a shot. I’ve been trying to catch a clear picture of Cedar waxwings; so far, I’ve only managed to capture blurry shots. But I will keep trying.

Northern Flicker

Through birdwatching in my garden, I’ve gained an appreciation for how humans and birds can co-exist in harmony. I don’t use chemicals on my plants, and I rarely remove flowers that have gone to seed. This provides safe food for birds during winter and clean straw for their nesting material in spring.

Eurasian Collared Doves

As I admire the beauty and variety God has created in the bird world, I’m drawn closer to Him as I worship and praise the Creator of both gardens and creatures. Yes, Dorothy Frances Gurney said it right:

“The kiss of the sun for pardon

The song of the birds for mirth,

One is nearer God’s heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on earth.”

I hope you’re able to grow or visit a patch of garden where you can enjoy birds too.

Blessings from my garden to yours ~ Wendy

 

About the Gardener/Writer

Wendy L. Macdonald is a Canadian, inspirational writer/blogger/podcaster who also loves to photograph nature. When she’s not writing, drawing, gardening, or sewing, she enjoys hiking, with her husband, in the beautiful parks of the Comox Valley. Wendy invites you to visit her blog: www.wendylmacdonald.com, where you will find nature photography and links to her “Daily Bread” style Facebook page and other social media sites. Her passion is inspiring others to walk with faith, hope, and love. You can hear her podcasts at: www.hopestreamradio.com/program/walking-with-hope.

 

 

 

A Writer’s Garden with Ana Morgan

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Today Ana Morgan is on A Writer’s Garden talking about the fruits of her labor. If I remember my emails correctly, Ana is an organic gardener. I’m soooo lusting after her vegetable gardens. Welcome, Ana.

 

Fruits of my Gardening Labor

Twin Cucumbers

I haven’t found the words to describe all the shades of green in a growing veggie garden. Or the satisfaction of turning on the light in my pantry on a snowy Sunday and seeing rows of multicolored quart jars on the shelves. For a writer, this is frustrating. Words are my tools, my stock in trade. I’m supposed to have them in abundance.

Brussel Sprouts

I have veggies in abundance, and in northern Minnesota, September is harvest game-on time. The stacks of pint packets of green beans, spinach, raspberries, and sweet corn in my freezer are swelling. The number of empty canning jars on my pantry shelves is going down.

Potatoes and onions

This weekend, I need to process a bushel of tomatoes into sauce. I like to separate the yellow tomatoes from the reds and simmer them separately. I arrange the sealed, cooled jars on the pantry shelves in rows of color. Red tomatoes, yellow sauce, green dill pickles with white garlic cloves at the top, orange peach jam, ivory pear wedges in clear light-sugar syrup, purple plum jam, rosy strawberry jam. Eye-candy.

Sweet corn and pea fence

Onions and garlic sleep in boxes off in a corner. Potatoes will hibernate in the root cellar along with the biggest carrots. I still need to dry and crush basil and parsley, and then pack into jars that fit in a kitchen drawer, safely away from heat and light that saps their essence. The eggplant didn’t do so well this season, but I have frozen ratatouille left over from last year.

We’ll make it through the winter just fine. I’ll keep searching for the word that describes the color of the first true leaves of an eggplant seedling.

 

About the Gardener/Writer:

Ana Morgan loves gardening so much, she raised vegetables for one hundred families.

Retired now, she’s still has trouble thinking ‘small’ –when ordering seed packets in the fall and starting seeds indoors in late winter.

Contact Ana at https://anamorgan.net

Stormy Hawkins

by Ana Morgan

Blade Masters has finally spotted his ideal Dakota Territory ranch, where he can live alone, forget his cheating ex-fiancée, and bury the shards of his shattered heart. All he needs to do is sweet-talk the ailing owner, and his spitfire daughter, into retiring.

If she weren’t desperate, Stormy would never hire a cowhand. She’s learned the hard way that she’s happier working her family’s ranch alone. But, the greedy banker who holds their mortgage just demanded payment in full—or her hand in marriage.

Will this handsome drifter protect her? Or does he have designs of his own?

Buy link http://amzn.to/2wXgykQ

Warning to readers of sweet romance: this book is a sensual romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer on Wednesday Writers

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Laura V. Hilton, author of Amish romance is back with us today talking about her Amish Christmas romance, The Christmas Admirer, and the glass blowing experience that inspired the book.

Christmas? You’re thinking. Already? It’s coming up faster than you realize, and now would be a great time to start collecting your Christmas reads. So, let’s hear what Laura has to say about The Christmas Admirer.

Welcome, Laura

Thanks, Catherine.

Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.

But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.

It was fascinating.

 

 

 

 

And I got to thinking what if…

So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.

The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:

Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri:

 The Snow Globe

The Postcard

The Birdhouse

The Amish Firefighter

The Amish Wanderer

The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)

The Christmas Admirer

Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018)

Love by the Numbers (February 2018)

I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.

 

The Christmas Admirer

 

Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but other than a lone summer filled with romantic buggy rides, marrying her remains an elusive dream. When his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, they left him as the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters and his grandparents. What woman wants to step into a ready-made family like his? Still, he leaves her monthly gifts from “A Secret Admirer,” hoping she’ll know that someone loves her, even though he isn’t free to step forward.

 

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, and hopes he’s her secret admirer, but now the clock is ticking. Susanna’s father is remarrying in January and his wife-to-be doesn’t want to leave her Amish community and family in Iowa. So when Susanna’s daed sells his glass-blowing business to his right-hand man, Benaiah, she’s left with three options: 1) Go with Daed to his new home with a new frau and step-kinner, 2) Flush out her mysterious secret admirer, or 3) Resign herself to life as an old maid. She doesn’t want to follow Daed where his new frau is leading him. And number three isn’t happening. Marrying Benaiah is her greatest desire—but he broke her heart, and now he treats her like a pesky younger sister. Can she make him see her as a woman, one who could stand by his side as he cares for his family?

As Christmas approaches, Susanna and her friends start making gingerbread houses for select members of the community. Susanna plans for hers to go to Benaiah’s family. But while her gingerbread may find a home—will her heart?

 

 

About the Author:

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost 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 and Putting on the New.

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.

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q 

visit my blogs: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/  & http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/ 

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Laura-V-Hilton/161478847242512

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/

 Purchase my books:

 Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q 

CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=laura+hilton&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/laura-hilton?store=allproducts&keyword=laura+hilton

Deeper Shopping http://www.deepershopping.com/index.php?query=laura+hilton&x=0&y=0&module=productsearch&_logmode=Y&querymodule=SPX

 

 

 

The Nun and the Narc is Free September 20-24

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The Nun and the Narc

by Catherine Castle

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

                                                                                                         

The Nun and the Narc is free starting today, September 20 to September 24 on Amazon.

 

If you haven’t read this Beverly Hills Book Award and Rone Award winning inspirational romantic suspense then take this opportunity to get a copy.

Readers of the book had this to say about it:

InD’tale Magazine:

This novel hits the ground running and never lets up! Margret and Jed are captured, escape, out-smart criminals, save a few lives, get captured again and risk their lives for each other. The romance keeps the reader guessing and wondering how the match could ever possibly work out while simultaneously hoping that it will. Through several intense scenes the reader connects to the character’s emotions and struggles. Their Christian faith, though handled very differently, shines through. To read the rest of the http://www.indtale.com/reviews/inspirational/nun-and-narc

Night Owl Reviews

The Nun and the Narc

Catherine Castle takes readers on an adventuresome journey with this inspirational mystery. Sister Margaret Mary is feisty and loyal and absolutely loveable. Her kind heart gets her in to trouble but her keen mind helps her out of some sticky situations. She seemed so much more relatable when she was dealing with her doubts and insecurities. I also enjoyed the fact that she had a temper to match her tresses. Jed is just a DEA agent trying to do his job and I loved witnessing his reactions to Maggie. To read the rest of the review, go to http://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Reviews/Paulinemichael-reviews-The-Nun-And-The-Narc-by-Catherine-Castle

Budden Book Reviews

As these two tried to outwit their kidnappers, I was turning the pages as quickly as possible, absorbing every word and action, afraid I might miss something. When they escaped, I was ecstatic – but there were so many twists and turns that, what I presumed to be a happy ending, turned out to be only the beginning of their journey.”

Get your copy today at Amazon.

And when you’re done with The Nun and the Narc, if you’d like to read more of my books, drop back over to Amazon and purchase my 4.5 star, new romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama. It’s only $3.99.

A Groom for Mama

Mama wants a groom for her daughter, and Mama’s not above using her terminal illness and Cupid’s arrows to get the deed done. But Mama’s groom is the last man Allison wants to wed—her ex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Bridal Attire Superstitions–A Groom for Mama Blog Tour

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It’s day 14 of the blog tour for my sweet romantic comedy A Groom for Mama. I hope you’ve been following along for the chance to win a free copy of the book at various stops on the tour. There’s one more giveaway coming up on the tour. If you’ve missed any posts you can click on the blog tour meme at the top of this post. It will take you the page where you will find the links to all the blog posts from the tour.

 

Today I’m not giving away anything, but I do have an interesting post on Joanne Guidoccio’s Power of Ten blog series about Bridal Attire Superstitions.

 

In my romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama, the minute Mama finds a suitable man for her daughter’s groom, she begins urging the heroine, Allison, to start looking for her wedding dress. So, I thought it would be fun to discuss 10 superstitions about bridal attire. Maybe I can come up with some you’ve never heard before.

 

Did you know…?

White wasn’t always the preferred color for a bride’s dress. To continue reading, click here

Laughter–the Best Medicine

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I’m over at Carole Browne’s blog today with another blog tour post. Here’s a tidbit to whet your appetite…

Years ago there used to be a joke column in Reader’s Digest called “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” I remember reading the jokes, some which were hilarious belly shakers. Some just gave you a giggle or two. In Prevention magazine, and other health magazines I subscribe to, I often see laughter trumpeted as a good for depression, unhappiness, and health in general. And I personally use it to ward of things I don’t want to deal with. A snarky, flippant comment goes a long way in helping keep emotions that are running high on a more even keel. In fact, sometimes the only thing that gets us through a tough time is life it a sense of humor.

Yep, we all need humor in our lives, especially my poor heroine Allison.

In my new romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama, Allison is in a race against time To read more click here

 

A Groom for Mama

Mama wants a groom for her daughter, and Mama’s not above using her terminal illness and Cupid’s arrows to get the deed done. But Mama’s groom is the last man Allison wants to wed—her ex.

A Sweet Romantic Comedy by multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle

Available from Amazon

 

Interview with Catherine Castle-Inspiration, Writing, and Humor

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The reviews are starting to come in, and readers agree that A Groom for Mama is a story that tugs on your heartstrings while delivering lots of fun, wit, and humorous moments. I’m thrilled that readers are loving the book! I hope you’ll hop over to Amazon to get your copy soon.

Today I’m over at Carole Ann Moleti’s blog talking about my writing journey, what inspires me, and the humor in my writing. There’s also another excerpt from my sweet, romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama.

Here’s a tidbit from my interview.

Carole: Tell us a little about yourself and your writing

Catherine: Before becoming a romance writer I was a freelance writer for 10 years for a local newspaper. I had no formal training for the job. One day, I just thought, I can write as well as this reporter. Egotistical and naïve, I know, but sometimes that’s what gets us where we need to be. So I studied the paper, tried to come up with an idea to pitch, and with my knees shaking so hard I thought you could hear them knocking, I approached the editor and … To read more of the interview click here

A Groom for Mama by Catherine Castle

One date for every medical test—that’s the deal. Allison, however, gets more than she bargains for. She gets A Groom for Mama.