Coffeecake Chaos and Ryan Jo Summers on Wednesday Writers

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Today Ryan Jo Summers is back on Wednesday Writers. Today she’s giving us the background behind her latest novella Coffeecake Chaos. The novella is part of the Food and Romance Go Together Anthology Vol 1, which comes out mid to late April, 2017 from Melange Books. Ryan’s story is sweet romance, but she doesn’t know the heat level of the other stories in the anthology. In addition to today’s Story Behind the Story post, Ryan Jo is sharing a yummy recipe that goes along with her book title—Coffeecake Chaos.  I can’t wait to make this delicious treat! Welcome, Ryan Jo.

 

Coffeecake Chaos

By Ryan Jo Summers

(Food and Romance Go Together Anthology Vol. 1)

 

Avianna Goodman and Sawyer Steele had been young lovers. Now she is a caterer, building her own business. Right now she needs cash to help her family. He’s being ordered to stop his wild ways and settle down to take over the family empire. His controlling mother has picked out the perfect heiress for him. Now they need the right caterer to launch the perfect engagement celebration.

 

 

Coffeecake Chaos – the story behind the story

 

A publishing house had two calls for submissions going at the same time. They wanted short stories for anthologies. The first one was To Love a Scotsman and the other was simply food related somehow. I was more interested in the love a Scotsman idea, but dually noted the information for both calls.

Then I left them to simmer, like a pot on the stove, to see which one would eventually surface as a good storyline.

Unfortunately, I really could not come up with anything solid for the Scotsman story, hard as I tried. I had a hero’s name and that was about it. Eventually, I had to admit I just didn’t have a story there. Bummer.

However, I was building my pet sitting business, and one of my new clients was a team of caterers. There was a clear food connection! I started thinking that would be a fun career—at least in a literary world. I started paying close attention to little things they said, just bits of conversation. And the wheels started turning.

Going back further, years ago (90’s), when I was newly married, I would make a streusel coffeecake while cooking breakfast—it was that crazy easy to whip up—and give it to hubby to share at his work. It earned me brownie points with his co-workers and made him seem like “the man”.

Over a period of a few weeks, the plot grew, centered on a caterer and her coffeecake. The characters fleshed out like plump browned fowl, the plot thickened like gravy, and a story was created like a menu paired with good wine.

I submitted “Coffeecake Chaos” and soon the good news came that it had been accepted.

 

Streusel Coffeecake

Ingredients:

Filling: Mix below items together with fork in small bowl before mixing cake batter: ½ C brown sugar, 2 Tbls. flour, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbls. melted butter  and ½ C nuts (optional) Batter:  1 ½ C sifted flour, 1 ½ tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt and ¾ C sugar. ¼ C shortening,   ½ C milk and one egg (Well beaten)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with pastry knife or fork. Blend in egg and milk.
  3. Spread half of batter in greased, flat 8 X 8 or 6 X 10 inch pan. Sprinkle with half of filling. Add rest of batter and sprinkle remaining filling on top.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Good served warm or room temp.

Optional topping: warm maple syrup and mix with brown sugar and drizzle over top. Or blend a few teaspoons milk with powdered sugar until runny and drizzle over top. Crumbled, cooked bacon or chopped nuts are good sprinkled over this too.

** I really don’t recall where this recipe originated from to give proper credit to. I inherited it from my mother and tweaked it some over the years.

 

About the Author:

Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes.

Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants (50ish and growing), poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories.

Ryan Jo Summers—Proud author with Soul Mate Publishing & Melange Books

WEBSITE: www.ryanjosummers.com

BLOG: http://www.summersrye.wordpress.com

FB:  www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan- Jo-Summers-author-page/ 312875648810797

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ RyanJoSummers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Writers: Behind the Scenes with June Foster and Lavender Fields Inn

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Today I’m welcoming award-winning author June Foster to the Wednesday Writers blog. June has an excerpt and a behind-the-scenes post about her book Lavender Fields Inn. Welcome, June. How did you come up with the story idea for this book?

 Thanks for having me, Catherine.

Writing’s never work when the story’s fun to create. Lavender Fields Inn—is one of those novels. I hope readers will agree.

Wren Tabor is taking a well-earned vacation at an inn and spa nestled high in the Rocky mountains. Perhaps her broken heart will heal after her so called boy friend betrayed her.

The hero, Graham Maier, wants to prove to his father that he’s as capable as his brother Greg. So Graham enters a local fishing tournament. Surrounded by lavender fields and stately mountain peaks, Graham and Wren find an attraction to each other, but when Wren sees Graham kissing another woman, she figures all men are alike.

Like many of my stories, this one was inspired by a real-life happening. About twelve years ago before I retired from my teaching profession—and before God called me to write stories, I taught seventh and eighth grade at a Christian school in Olympia, Washington. One of the teachers was a pretty young lady, young enough to be my daughter, and we enjoyed chatting in the teachers’ lounge.

My friend told me a funny story that I never forgot. She dated and married an identical twin. Even her husband’s mother had to look twice to tell these two brothers apart. Once, she went to a family dinner. She and her husband planned to drive separately as they both came from work. When she walked into her mother-in-law’s living room, she saw her husband sitting on the couch watching a football game on TV.

She leaned over the couch from behind him and kissed his prickly cheek then gave him a hug. Only thing, he wore a new aftershave. He turned around and stared at her with wide eyes. She still didn’t get it until he told her she’d kissed the wrong guy. The man was her husband’s brother.

My friend enjoyed laughing about the incident at the time she told me, but the night of the family gathering, she felt like crawling under the table.

Don’t want to give too much away, but this true-to-life event sparked the story idea. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Lavender Fields Inn

By June Foster

 

Love grows amid the flowers in the magnificent Rockies,

but sometimes romance can be deceptive.

 

Wren Tabor hopes the cool Colorado air at Lavender Fields Inn will heal her aching heart after her former boyfriend betrays her. When she literally bumps into handsome accountant Graham Maier, the painful memories from the past begin to fade. But after she sees Graham kissing another woman, she figures no man can be trusted.

Graham Maier needs to prove to his father he’s as capable as his brother Greg. The Rocky Mountain Anglers’ Tournament at Gold Pan Lake will give him the chance. But he must win first place. After he meets Wren, a woman like the unnamed girl who’s occupied his dreams, he can’t understand why she suddenly won’t speak to him.

Can Wren learn to trust men again? Can Graham understand how valuable he is in God’s sight?

 

Excerpt:

Graham Maier peered into his car’s trunk and unloaded the duffle bag, fishing pole case, and tackle box. Lavender Fields Inn dominated the landscape on the other side of the parking lot, with the magnificent Rockies in the background, a reminder of his purpose here. The Rocky Mountain Anglers Tournament. He slammed the trunk closed. Most guys saw the event as a relaxing fishing retreat, but not him. Even the mountain breeze with aromatic pine conifers and evergreens didn’t sooth his stomach’s churning. The tournament wasn’t merely a spare time, fun event but another opportunity to prove to Dad he could do something better than Greg, especially since his brother hated fishing.

Graham firmed his lips, grabbed his luggage, and trudged into the lodge. Straight ahead, an attendant escorted two women up a curved stairway. His mouth went slack. It couldn’t be. The one with shiny dark hair―so like the nameless girl who’d occupied his dreams more than once in the last five years.

Setting his luggage down, he stepped toward the staff member at the counter.

“Yes, sir. Welcome to Lavender Fields Inn.” The receptionist smiled. Her nametag introduced her as Tessie.

“Thanks. I need to register and sign up for the fishing tournament.”

Tessie passed him some papers. “Sure. Fill these out. Then go down the hall in that direction.” She pointed to the right. “The registration table’s in the conference room. If you want to leave your gear here, Zach can take it to your room in a few moments.” She handed Graham a key.

“Sure.” Graham signed the few papers and ambled down the hall to the tournament desk. A brightly colored poster with Rocky Mountain Angler’s Association on the front was taped on the wall above a long table manned by two men in shirts with RMAA and a rainbow trout embroidered over the pocket.

Graham stood behind three other guys already in line. He tapped his toe in time with his pounding heart. Spinner fishing had always intrigued him. If he could come in first place, Dad might be proud of him for once since his father loved the sport.

When the line moved up a step, Graham planted his feet on the tiled floor and allowed another thought—the persistent image in his dreams. Light brown eyes with flecks of gold twinkled above a petite nose and luscious full lips. Raven, shoulder length hair graced creamy, smooth shoulders. With a start, he drew his attention back to the tournament registration desk. He had to shake the image of a woman he’d never met and concentrate on winning the fishing tournament.

Want to read more? You can find June’s book at http://tinyurl.com/j36sqds

About the Author:

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Since then she’s also written Ryan’s Father, Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, The Almond Tree Series: For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, What God Knew and Almond Street Mission. Also available is Lavender Fields Inn and Christmas at Raccoon Creek. Find all June’s books at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Find June online at junefoster.com.

 

June’s links: junefoster.com     https://www.amazon.com/author/junefoster

https://twitter.com/vjifoster        https://www.facebook.com/authorjunefoster

 

 

 

Button, Button. Who’s got the Button?

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March is National Craft Month, and I like to craft.

I’m a closet Martha-Stewart-wannabe without the extra time needed to do it all up right. Anyway,  I talked about this special holiday earlier this month on Stitches Thru Time, a group blog where I post monthly with a group of lovely ladies. So, I thought I’d share that crafting post with my own readers this week.

Everyone knows about knitting, crochet, sewing, and quilting. These are fairly common crafts using standard materials. But have you considered the lowly button when it comes to crafting?

When I was a teenager, my mother and I used to go to this warehouse fabric shop and get material to make our clothes really cheaply. The also had a huge bin filled with buttons. Mom would always buy a mason jar of buttons every time we shopped there. Sometimes there would be enough matching buttons to use on a dress or blouse, but most of the time they were mismatched.

While Mom didn’t do much with her buttons, I discovered later in life that buttons were kinda cool. Buttons are not just for closing your shirts. They can embellish pillows, add creative touches to clothing, create mosaic styled pictures, add pizzaz to your handcrafted cards, become the base for crocheted flowers, or decorate your hair. You can even create jewelry using buttons. And jewelry is right up my alley—costume, beads, real gems, or any other medium. Just ask my hubby.

Here are some button items from the jewelry chests of my family members.

Antique matching button bracelet and earrings that belonged to my mother-in-law.

Crocheted and fabric covered button pin (red and black) made for me by my sister-in-law and black and white fabric covered earrings that match a scarf I got from my mother-in-law.

 

 

 

 

Button necklace: Note the small beads sewn on one side, which gives it a reversible look.

My niece Jacque’s button bracelet. Notice that it’s twice the width of my bracelet. Both Jacque’s and my bracelets are crocheted with elastic thread. The buttons are attached by crocheting the buttons to the band by catching the loop shanks of the buttons on the outer side of the elastic band.

These are only a few examples of the types of button jewelry you can make. For more ideas, just search the internet for button jewelry and get inspired to create using the humble, mostly utilitarian, but often beautiful button. My own research for this post set me off on a trip to the craft store. The possibilities for unique jewelry are endless.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda Cabot talks about A Stolen Heart on Wednesday Writers

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astolenheartToday on Wednesday Writers I have best-selling author Amanda Cabot who will be sharing an excerpt from her Historical romance A Stolen Heart where a young woman’s plans for the future are shattered by the revelation that her fiancé has married another. Sounds like there’s some conflict there, Amanda, and maybe a secret or two. What other secrets and questions do the characters in A Stolen Heart face?

Secrets. We all have them. Some are small; others are big. What they have in common is that we don’t want anyone – and I mean anyone – to know them. When I started plotting the Cimarron Creek trilogy, I knew there would be one large secret that spans the three books, but I also knew there would be a number of smaller ones, because we all have secrets, and when they’re revealed, there are often unexpected consequences. Since this is a new series set in a new town in the Texas Hill Country, my first challenge was to develop that town. Once I understood its history and saw the dynamics between its founding families, I started asking myself what would bring outsiders to Cimarron Creek and why they might stay, even when they weren’t offered a normal Texas welcome. The answers surprised me. They also resulted in a new set of questions.

  • What would you do if you traveled more than a thousand miles only to learn that the man you loved married someone else?
  • How would you make a living in a town that has no need for your training?
  • What would you do if you found yourself in a town where you were distrusted, simply because of where you were born?
  • Who would you trust? The sheriff whose father is sure you’re an enemy? The other men who are eager to court you? The town’s schoolteacher who has good reasons to dislike you? The older woman who seems to have a dark secret in her life?

Those are some of the questions Lydia, the heroine of A Stolen Heart, has to answer. Some answers come easily, others don’t, but they all lead Lydia into the greatest adventure of her life, an adventure that just might end with love.

 

 

A Stolen Heart

By Amanda Cabot

From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her. Lydia won’t let that get her down, though. All will be well when she’s reunited with her fiancé.

But when she discovers he has disappeared—and that he left behind a pregnant wife—Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?

 

Excerpt

Lydia took a deep breath then exhaled slowly, all in a desperate attempt not to faint. She had never fainted, not even when Hortense, her closest friend at the academy, had laced her corset too tightly. Unfortunately, tight corsets were nothing compared to this.

Edgar was married!

She’d survived the long journey; she’d endured the many snubs; she’d even managed to keep her composure when she learned Edgar was gone; but she’d come unraveled when the sheriff had mentioned Edgar’s wife.

Lydia felt the blood drain from her face, and black spots danced in front of her eyes. It couldn’t be true. The sheriff must be mistaken. But if he wasn’t . . . Lydia’s legs grew weak and her spine threatened to crumble. Stop it! she told herself. You’re not going to faint. But her body refused to obey, and before she knew what was happening, the sheriff had put his arm around her.

She should object. After all, it wasn’t proper for a strange man to be touching her. Even though she and Edgar had been betrothed, he had never been so bold in public. Lydia opened her mouth to protest, then closed it again. She couldn’t object when the sheer strength of the sheriff’s arm was doing more to calm her nerves than her careful breathing.

Edgar was married!

She took another breath, exhaling slowly as she tried to make sense of a world that had suddenly gone topsy-turvy. Though the sheriff’s words had lodged inside her, Lydia refused to believe them. Edgar couldn’t be married. He simply could not. She hadn’t given up her comfortable life and traveled all this way to meet a man who’d found himself another wife.

 

Want to read more? You can find Amanda’s book A Stolen Heart at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Christian Book Distributors

 

 

About the Author:

amanda-cabotAmanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, the Texas Crossroad trilogy, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

Social Media Links:

www.amandacabot.com

https://www.facebook.com/amanda.j.cabot

https://twitter.com/AmandaJoyCabot/

http://amandajoycabot.blogspot.com/

 

 

Women of the Heartland series by Gail Kittleson on Wednesday Writers

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with-each-new-dawnToday I’m welcoming Gail Kittleson back to Wednesday Writers. Gail, who has been a guest on several of my blog series, is the author of The Women of the Heartland series. Gail likes to write about not-too-distant bygone eras, specifically WWII. Today she’ll be talking about the roots of her just released book, Each New Dawn. By the way, Gail, I love each one of your covers with their WWII flavor.

Thanks, Catherine.

We don’t often reflect on the forces molding our childhood experiences until much later in life. Here I am in my sixties, finally considering how much World War II affected my parents, and therefore, my siblings and me.

The Women of The Heartland Series, I realize now, found its roots in my parents’ moorings. Dad served four years in the war, and Mom anxiously awaited her two brothers’ return from the infantry. Her barefoot singing in the kitchen surrounded us as children, and what did she sing? World War II tunes, of course. There’ll be bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe … I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places … I’ll be with you in apple blossom time …

So when the heroines of In Times Like These and With Each New Dawn, came to me, those songs danced in my memory bank. Not consciously, of course. Actually, I didn’t “get it” until someone at a book signing asked, “So, did you pattern your heroines after anyone?”

“Nope,” I blithely stated. But then I had a flash about how much certain characters resemble my mother, a hard working, mid-western make-do woman from humble circumstances. So I backtracked and shared the epiphany.

Katherine Anne Porter wrote, “The past is never where you think you left it.”

Ah, isn’t that the truth? We’re products of our past, and orphan Kate Isaacs, the heroine of With Each New Dawn, proves this point. Her longing for information about her parents drives her right into danger.

With Each New Dawn

By Gail Kittleson

In war-torn London, American Kate Isaacs grieves her husband, awaits their child’s birth, and welcomes her best friend Addie. But after her miscarriage, another meeting with mysterious Monsieur le Blanc launches her into Britain’s Secret Operations Executive(SOE). In late 1943, Kate parachutes into Southern France to aid the Resistance.

Domingo, a grieving Basque mountain guide-turned-saboteur, meets her parachute drop, tends her injured ankle, and carries her to safety. Reunited a few months later, they discover the injured Monsieur le Blanc who, with his dying breath, reveals a secret that changes Kate’s life.

In the shadow of the Waffen SS, Domingo’s younger brother Gabirel is missing. While Domingo seeks Gabirel, Domingo’s parish priest, Père Gaspard, creates a new identity for Kate.

As Kate and Domingo subject their mutual attraction to the cause of freedom, can mere human will and moral courage change the war’s tide and forge a future for them?

Buy link for Each New Dawn

About the Author:

gailGail Kittleson lives in Northern Iowa with her husband of 38 years. In winter, Arizona’s Ponderosa pine forest provides another setting for her historical women’s fiction. She instructs creative writing classes and facilitates women’s workshops on spirituality, creativity, and memoir/fiction writing.

Connect with Gail at:

http://www.gailkittleson.com/

www.facebook.com/GailKittlesonAuthor

http://amazon.com/author/gailkittleson

www.twitter.com/GailGkittleson @GailGkittleson

To read more about Gail on this blog check out her other posts: Wednesday Writers, A Writers Garden, The Writers Block, Home for the Holidays

Hot Breakfast Month in Catherine Castle’s Kitchen

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February is Hot Breakfast Month, and before the month runs out, I’ve got some breakfast treats to share with you.

Normally, we eat cold cereal for our breakfast. I’m partial to a high-fiber bran cereal and the hubby likes an oat cereal. But when we want to splurge, I break out the ancient pancake griddle, which my sister-in-law bought me more years ago than I care to mention. It’s a super cool pan, with indents that form perfectly round pancakes.

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Since we’re into high fiber, low/no sugar foods, I found this great pancake mix called Maple Groves Farms of Vermont Sugar Free Pancake and Waffle Mix (shown above).

One cup of the mix makes 12 pancakes (thin batter, not thick), with only 32 carbs and 12 fibers for the whole batch of mix. That’s 2.6 carbs and 1 fiber per pancake, which leaves us with a net carb count of 1.6 per pancake. Hubby and I usually divide the batch between us, and even at that it’s still only 9.6 net carbs. You can’t beat those numbers for a pancake breakfast. Add a dollop of sugar-free syrup and I’m in pancake heaven. Or if you like you can make your own fruit syrups by mashing a cup of blueberries or strawberries in just enough water to make a sauce. Sweeten to taste or leave au natural. If you want to get even lazier, just wash the berries and top the pancakes with them.

If pancakes aren’t your thing, then consider making a veggie hash. Dice a cooked potato (leave the skin on for more fiber), a pepper, a few slices of onion, and some mushrooms, or any other veggies you’d like, and sauté in olive oil, or vegetable broth, until crisp-tender. Top the veggie hash with two fried eggs. I like mine over easy, with a bit of fringe on the edges. Add a slice of high fiber toast and some sugar-free jam, or butter and cinnamon, and you’ve got a nutritious meal to start off your day.

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Or maybe you don’t like breakfast for breakfast. No one says the first meal of the day has to be traditional breakfast food. So make a mini-pizza to break your fast.

Top a high-fiber English muffin (or muffin of your choice) with a couple teaspoons of ready-made pizza sauce. Add some pepperoni (and/or finely chopped veggies of your choice). Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over everything. Bake in a preheated, 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese melts and begins to brown.

Take the no-breakfast for breakfast theme even farther and add a crisp salad and a baked apple to the meal. To bake the apple, start with a baking apple such as Granny Smith, Jonathan, or Honey Crisp. Cut a slice off the stem end, and peel a strip of skin from the top of the apple. Using an apple corer, hollow out the core and some of the apple flesh. Leave a bit of the apple bottom intact to keep in your filling. Measure out enough raisins to fill the opening and mix them with a teaspoon of brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of spreadable butter or margarine. Fill the apple cavity with the mixture. Set the apple in a small baking dish with a little water in the bottom, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the apple is tender. Put desert and the main course in the oven together. If the apple needs to cook longer, you can enjoy your pizza while you wait. In less than 45 minutes you can have a hot, delicious non-traditional breakfast on the table. Yum!

What about you? Do you have a favorite Hot Breakfast you like to fix? I’d love to hear about your recipes.

Perfectly Together by Linda O’Connor on Wednesday Writers

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perfectlytogether3_850Today on Wednesday Writers I have guest author Linda O’Connor who will be talking about her latest contemporary romantic comedy, Perfectly Together, book number 6 in the Perfectly series. She also has an excerpt for your reading pleasure. Linda, tell us about one of the challenges of writing this book, aside from solving the problem of the heroine putting down roots and the hero reaching for the sky, as your hook says.

Thanks, Catherine,

I’m very excited to release Book 6 in the Perfectly series, Perfectly Together. I wrote Perfectly Together as the final book in the series. But I also said that after the third book, haha, so we’ll see if it sticks. I really enjoyed writing this book because I had a number of characters from the other books “pop” in. The challenge was to do that without making it contrived. Eight of the twelve main characters are doctors – so that made it a bit easier. They meet at medical functions, share patients, or become the patient – one of the doctors is an obstetrician and one is pregnant! Altogether, the six books take place in three different settings – one larger city and two smaller northern Ontario towns. So I also incorporated the three towns into Book 6. It may sound like a bit much, but the two smaller towns are close together, which made it easier for Jayden and Cole in Perfectly Together to visit and work in both. All of the books in the series are stand-alone stories, but I hope Perfectly Together ties the other books (perfectly :D) together and gives readers a glimpse into what the characters are doing now. It’s like an insider secret – readers of the whole series can have fun with that additional layer!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Perfectly Together

By Linda O’Connor

Newly graduated naturopathic doctor Jayden Locke has a dream – start a practice in small-town Emerson and never move again. She’s found the perfect office building to buy. It passes an inspection, design plans are drawn up, and the bank okays the loan. Only one problem.

Dr. Cole Cameron scoops it before she has a chance to submit an offer. What?

It’s a good investment. Cole isn’t interested in settling down. He works three jobs in three different towns and would just as soon keep moving. But something about Jayden’s defiant eyes and sexy smile makes him pause and reconsider.

What are the chances that a heart filled with wanderlust and a soul longing for a home fit Perfectly Together?

 

 

Excerpt from Perfectly Together:

The weight of disappointment settled on her shoulders and an ache filled her chest. Her dream tumbled like a collapsing house of cards. She couldn’t bear it, and turned to go.

“Wait, maybe we could work something out.”

She looked back.

His eyes lit up and the green flecks glowed. “I planned on renting it out. We can renovate the interior to suit. Sounds like it would work out perfectly.”

For you, maybe. She longed to own. The thought of renting, of living at the whim of someone else, made her stomach twist in knots. She couldn’t do it. She wanted stability and needed permanency.

She blinked back tears. It had been so close.

“You’re thinking of a clinic? Are you a doctor?” he asked.

“I’m a naturopath – a doctor of naturopathy.”

Cole’s eyes widened and he smirked. “A naturopath? Interesting. What exactly do you do? Hand out herbs? Read a crystal ball?” He grinned. “Voodoo?”

Jayden put her hands on her hips. “Naturopaths follow the same curriculum as medical doctors and then get additional training in natural medicine,” she said stiffly.

He held up his hands. “Sounds very . . . important.”

She narrowed her eyes. Was he mocking her? “I don’t think renting would work. I was really looking to buy.” She couldn’t keep the disappointment from her voice. “Good luck to you, though.” She glanced around one last time and walked to the front door.

A hand on her arm stopped her. “Take my card,” Cole said, offering it to her. “Think about it. If you change your mind, give me a call. I’m hoping to get underway in the next couple of weeks.” He tilted his head, the green flecks twinkling. “You know, you don’t look like a naturopath.”

Pft. She rolled her eyes. Should she even bother taking his card? She glanced at the open expanse out the window, the sunlight streaming in, and the view of the mountain.

Would it be worth it? Her dream property, at what cost?

He raised his eyebrows, and her heart stumbled at the interest in his dark blue eyes, the green specks mocking her with a dare.

She plucked the card out of his hand. Hopefully it had a picture on it. It might be a useful target for dart practice.

Want to read more? You can get Perfectly Together at Amazon:

 

About the Author:

linda-oconnor-authorLinda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at the local home décor store. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories 😀 ). She hangs out at www.lindaoconnor.net.

Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Social Media Links: Website: Facebook: Twitter: Amazon Author Page: Blog:

 

 

Who Lives In Your Attic?–Musings from a Writer’s Brain

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who-lives-in-your-attic

Stephen King once said his muse was a guy who lived in the basement and smoked cigars. Well, I think my muse, or maybe I should say muses, live in the attic of my skull, because they’re always running around shouting at me at the most inconvenient times.

Currently, I have 12 disciples and Jesus living in my cranial attic, and they’ve been keeping me awake a lot recently. I know . . . you’re wondering why these particular characters are residing in my head. It’s because my husband and I are writing and directing an Easter play centered around the last Passover supper Jesus had with his disciples. We’re condensing Judas’ betrayal, the Seder meal, and part of the events at the Garden of Gethsemane into a thirty minute drama. And we’re trying to do it in a seamless fashion that won’t require blackouts between scenes. Not sure that’s going to work, though. Especially after the conversation Jesus and the disciples had with me.

We’d been working on the script for some time, but something wasn’t gelling to my satisfaction, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. But with the calendar eating the days, we didn’t want to wait any longer to get the script to the actors. So, we had a meeting with them a few Sundays back after church, and we gave them what we’d prepared.

Then the voices started mumbling. “We could do this, or this,” they said. “Maybe you should put some more props on the table.” “Are you sure the audience will make that leap with you?” they asked. “I think you missed something,” they whispered. While I twisted and turned in the bed, for four long hours, they kept nagging me.

I hate when you think something is complete only to discover it’s not. It’s really annoying, and those 13 characters in my head were not making things any better. When I finally came up with a solution they started celebrating. There was no sleeping after that.

So, at 4 a.m., on a Sunday night, I tried to sneak out of bed, without jiggling the mattress and disturb my husband, and get my ideas onto paper before they vanished. My feet hadn’t even hit the floor when he said in a very not-asleep-voice, “Are you awake?” Apparently, he’d been wrestling with the rehearsal schedule. So, we got up, put on our bathrobes, and sat at the kitchen bar counter working out the issues that had been bugging us. After about an hour, we had resolved our problems enough we could both go to sleep.

As a writer, I live with voices in my attic most of the time. And when they start poking at me, it’s hard to do anything except listen to them, get their thoughts on paper, and hope they’ll shut up long enough so I can get some rest. Because if they don’t insomnia will ruin my health and drive me nuts. And the Lord knows I’m ditzy enough. Just ask my husband and our best friends.

What about you? Where do your muses live and how do they annoy you?

 

The Story Behind The Amish Wanderer by Laura Hilton On Wednesday Writers

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amishwanderer_coverToday, I’m welcoming award-winning author Laura Hilton back to Wednesday Writers. Laura has talked about her book The Amish Wanderer on Wednesday Writers before, but I have to tell you sometime about this visit. When I read her post for the first time, I literally got cold chills, and I was sitting less than 3 feet away of an electrical heater going full blast. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this story behind the story of The Amish Wanderer. Welcome back to the blog, Laura.

Thanks, Catherine

I didn’t intentionally set out to write an Amish story loosely based on a true story. If fact, when people asked me if I would write my maternal grandparents’ story, I told them no.

 

But when time came to write Bethany’s story, all I knew was a short paragraph blurb about it. Bethany and her once-upon-a-time boyfriend Silas who left that particular Amish district and her before their relationship became serious. I didn’t know their backstories, really, and had no idea how the story would proceed. And since I don’t plot, I spend a lot of time praying about the story, because really, I want to write what He says to write. He knows who He wants it to reach.

So I sat down to pray about it. And God gave me a verse. Which is unusual at the beginning of the story. Usually, for me, it’s at the middle when God reveals His theme for the book. But this time, it was at the beginning. The verse is:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

And the verses caused more prayer. What am I supposed to do with it?

I was driving to Melbourne (Arkansas, not Australia) to pay property taxes and get my vehicle tags renewed, listening to the radio as we (my three daughters and I) drove down Larkin Road (that’s not the real name, just what everyone calls it—we have a lot of those around here: Day Road, Moko Road, etc—because there are ghost towns on these roads so they are called by the name of the ghost town). A song came on the radio and I don’t remember the name of it, or even who the singer was, but when I arrived in Melbourne, I had the opening line to my story.

The sky is falling and I’m searching for somewhere to hide.

 I’m sure the people at the county clerk’s office might have been a little concerned about the state of my mental health when they saw the words scribbled at the top of my bill. I did get a strange look. I didn’t offer an explanation. And they didn’t ask.

When I got home, I started writing and paying close attention to Bethany’s mental clues (and Silas’s) to figure out what their stories were. And how they tied into the verse God had given me.

And then, without even realizing it until it hit, I knew who’s story I was writing.

My grandmother’s. My grandfather’s.

Except they are different. My grandmother wasn’t date raped. It was a member of her own family. And she wasn’t in love with my grandfather. She just discovered he was leaving the Amish and she wanted—needed—to escape.

Neither were Christians at the time. My grandfather was saved on his death bed. My grandmother’s youngest child was a teenager when she was saved. My mother, her sister, and all their girlfriends went to a tent meeting for a United Brethren Church and my grandmother attended one of the meetings with her daughters and was saved as a result. And their testimonies ultimately led to the salvation of my uncle and my grandfather.

Both of my grandparents had a lot of issues to work through as to why God allowed the bad things in their lives to happen. That they eventually came to Christ is a miracle but I’m glad they did, as I was raised in a Christian home.

Why does God allow bad things to happen to people? The short, pat answer is: because sin entered the world. Yes, God could stop them. But what if He uses the bad thing to refine a person’s faith, to draw them closer to Him as a result?

How a person reacts to the bad things directly ties in to how they affect them. In my story, Silas chose to trust God even though he feared for his life. No, he didn’t like what had happened, but even though he didn’t see how, he trusted God was working behind the scenes to bring Silas to where he needed to be, spiritually and physically. On the other hand, Bethany believed God had rejected her. Pushed her away and didn’t care about her. If He didn’t care for her, why should she care about Him? So she went into a stand-off with God.

The lessons ultimately learned, for both my grandparents and my characters, brought them to their knees before the living and holy God who was, and is, and is to come. And I trust God will use this story to help a reader out there who might be questioning something terrible that happened in their life.

You might not see how now and may not know why until eternity, but God has this. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

The Amish Wanderer

By Laura Hilton

 

Bethany Weiss has been fascinated by Silas Beiler since he spent a couple of years in Jamesport, Missouri, before he and his family moved to another Amish community. They hadn’t kept in touch, but she hasn’t forgotten the friendly young man who brought her lemonade and took her home once from a Singing years ago. When she finds a man sleeping in her family’s barn, like Jesus sleeping in the hay, she is stunned to recognize Silas. He’s left the Amish and is backpacking across the country. She talks him into staying, at least until after Christmas.

 

Silas’ family has never been happy living in one area for long, and their vagabond ways are wearing on him. He’s lived in Amish communities all over the nation, moving whenever his daed became disgruntled with the leaders, and he’s looking for some sense of stability. His intentions are to make it back to Pennsylvania and stay with his Englisch onkle and his family—and pursue an education. Will Bethany be the one to bring Silas in from the cold? Or will he continue on his way to his extended family and become Englisch?

 

About the Author:

laura-pictureLaura 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 and 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.

Links for Laura and her books:

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   CBD: Barnes and Noble: Deeper Shopping

 

 

Origami Heart Corner Bookmark-A Quick Valentine Gift

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I’ve been fascinated with origami for a long time, but haven’t tried my hand at it much. My daughter has given me a number of origami folded dollars as birthday and Mother’s Day gifts—flowers, rings, hearts—and I can’t bear to disassemble them and spend the money. LOL.

While researching for a Valentine’s Day blog last year on a group site I post on, I discovered this adorable heart corner clip bookmark at a URL that doesn’t exist anymore. So I hunted for one similar to the picture above and I found one at http://origami.about.com/od/Origami-Decorations/tp/How-To-Fold-An-Origami-Heart-Bookmark.htm.

I made the original in the picture using some scrapbook card stock and thought I’d share it with you. The card stock is a little heavy, and I would suggest scrapbook papers or origami papers, if you have some on hand. My corner bookmark is a bit on the large side because I wanted to make folding it easier. (I know, I shouldn’t have used card stock if I wanted easy folding, but it was the first thing I came across in my disorganized scrapbook stash that had a pattern in it.) I used a 4 1/2 inch square. As you can see from the photo below,

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my bookmark is a bit large for the interior pages of the trade-sized book I used it on. I would suggest using a smaller square to make a more comparable page to bookmark fit. And practice with something besides card stock. ☺

I think this would be a cute, and quick, gift for your reading-addicted Valentine, as Valentines for your reading club ladies, or even as giveaway swag attached to your business card or on the corner of the books you sell at a book signing. They’re unique, easy to make, and you can get a bunch from an 8 x 11 ½ sheet of scrapbook paper.

And while you’re creating this adorable bookmark, why not pick up a copy of my multi-award-winning inspirational suspense book, The Nun and the Narc, available at Amazon. Doesn’t the heart look adorable on the cover?img-20150127-00468

Happy Folding!

Catherine