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book review, giveaway

Review/Giveaway: My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, Laurel’s Dream

A British Missionary Meets a Chilly Welcome in a Remote Appalachian Community. 

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About the book:

Laurel McAdams is well acquainted with trouble, but her dreams keep her hopeful that life can improve on her mountain in the Blue Ridge. Still, trouble does come in the form of an outsider.

Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins his uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination.

Faced with parents angry over his teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom

Journey into North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where a young woman’s dreams are held captive by rugged landscape and long-held traditions.

My thoughts: 

Pepper Basham has done it again! While I love her contemporary “kissing books”, I was captivated by this story set in the Blue Ridge mountains, rich with Appalachian culture and lore. From the quaint Appalachian speech to the lusciously painted setting, each page drew me into a world I’d never experienced, yet came to love.

This is one of the sweetest love stories I’ve read in a long time. Laurel is tenderhearted and kind while being amazingly strong in the face of difficult circumstances. Her wisdom and spiritual insight combined with her innocent faith make her a compelling character that you grow to love and want to protect. Jonathan is not unlike Laurel in his good-natured personality and innate sense of right and wrong. He, like Laurel, is a kind soul who learns to love the foreign culture of the mountains even though he is like a fish out of water.

The growth of Laurel and Jonathan’s friendship is sweet and delicately blooms into a  beautiful love that satisfying and very swoon-worthy. Yes, Pepper writes kissing scenes that rivals that of Julie Lessman.

I highly recommend this book to any reader of historical romance. It’s rich in history and culture while giving a fantastic romance that will put a smile on your face.

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I’m giving away a print copy of  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream! If you would like to enter, please leave a comment below.  Giveaway ends Friday at midnight. Winner will be drawn using random.org. Only US citizens eligible.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on it, you can purchase a copy HERE.

UPDATE: Winner of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge is:

Caryl Kane

book covers, books

Cover Reveal for Lord of Her Heart

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Opening up my email and seeing the cover of my debut novel, Lord of Her Heart, has been one of the most exciting aspects of this publication journey. Yes, getting the contract was HUGE, but seeing the cover made it seem real. My book baby got all dressed up and looks amazing! I’m so excited to reveal the cover to you today!

Writing a romance set in the middle ages was such fun. Throwing Jocelyn, a high-born lady disguised as a boy, with Malcolm, a fierce knight looking to make a name for himself, ended up being more fun to write than I originally thought. While they both want the same thing – a sense of home and security – they must deal with their trust issues in order to work together to reach their goals.

Here’s a sneak peek at Lord of Her Heart‘s back cover copy:

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth.

Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite
of her conniving ways.

Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only way either of them survives.

I gave my newsletter subscribers an early peek yesterday, but here is Lord of Her Heart‘s cover!

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I think Elaina Lee and the team at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas did a fabulous job. I love the way he is holding her, the sword in his hand, the purple-tinged mist and clouds, and the castle in the background. And check out that long name at the bottom of the cover! Somebody pinch me!

Lord of Her Heart is scheduled for release May 14, 2019.  You won’t miss it. I will be sharing more about it as the day draws near.

What do you think of Lord of Her Heart‘s cover?

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one word, personal, writing

My One Word for 2019

One Word 2019My One Word for 2018 was CULTIVATE. As I look back on what I wanted to cultivate last year, I’m amazed at how I was able to work on the different areas of my life, cultivating and growing those areas to where I was able to accomplish more than I thought possible. True, some of my ideas didn’t come to fruition, but I grew in my writing, my home, my relationships, and my beautiful garden. It was a good year.

As I prayed over what my word for 2019 should be, I kept seeing the word WHISPER show up in different writings I was reading. I thought that was a weird word to choose, but after many confirmations, it is the word I ended up with.

WHISPER:  to speak very softly using one’s breath without one’s vocal cords, especially for the sake of privacy.

VERSES FOR 2019: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you, a voice will say, “This is the way you should go”, whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 NLT

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I want to be still enough to quiet my soul from the world’s chatter so I can hear His whisper. I want to hear his directives for my life and step out in faith to follow Him wherever He leads.

I also want to whisper Him to everyone in everything I say and everything I do. I don’t want to shout about Him and turn people away. I want to whisper Him…a subtle thing…a tantalizing whisper that makes people lean in to hear.

One of the beautiful things about the word whisper is that you use your breath to speak. The English word ‘spirit’ comes from the Latin word ‘spiritus’, which means breath. The Spirit of God is the breath of God.

I want to feel God’s breath move over me…to know Him, experience Him. I want my words (spoken or written) to breathe His Spirit into all aspects of my life. I want to be fruitful for Him.

So that is my word for the year. Do you have a word for the new year? Resolutions? Goals? What are your hopes for 2019?

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books

My 2018 Book Challenge (Failure)

I had grand plans to read 40 books in 2018. Alas, I failed at reaching my goal. BUT…I’m choosing progress over perfection, so I am celebrating the fact I read 25 books during 2018. This was the year I got a publishing contract and spent months editing my manuscript. So, yes, I’m celebrating the books I read!

I keep track of my reading at Goodreads. You can check it out here.

2018 book challenge 12018 book challenge 22018 book challenge 3

Because I didn’t reach my 2018 goal, I decided to lower my expectations for 2019 and read 24 books. I want to read one non-fiction book on the craft of writing each month, as well as one fiction book a month. I’m sure I will surpass my goal, but that is much better than not meeting my goal.

Did you make reading goals for 2019? I’d love to hear!

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writing

First Line Fridays – The Mistletoe Inn

First Line FridaysHere’s another First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books!  It’s a fun way to share good books and spread the love of words on the page.

I was given this book by a sweet friend who thought I’d love it because the story is about a writer. ❤ Why yes! I believe I shall! The book is The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans.

About the book:

Mistletoe Inn

At thirty-two Kimberly Rossi, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Burlington, VT. Deep inside Kimberly knows she’s at a junction in her life and it’s time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.

In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he’s really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he’s unwilling to talk about.

The theme of The Mistletoe Inn is that like literature, relationships must be lived with passion and vulnerability to succeed.

First Line:

My mother attempted suicide four times before she finally succeeded.

flourishFirst Line Fridays_Hoarding BooksNow it’s your turn! Grab the nearest book (or the book you are reading) and share the first line in the comments. Then head over to Hoarding Books and check out the linky with more First Line participants. 

Have a great weekend!

 

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Christmas, decor, personal, Uncategorized

2018 Christmas Home Tour

The Alley Cats were challenged by Pepper Basham to give a tour of our Christmas Decor. I decided to share the little decor I have. I only decorate two rooms for Christmas, my living/dining area and my kitchen. I don’t do a lot, but I think it makes my small home cozy and inviting.

I made a video if you would like to check it out here: 2018 Christmas Home Tour

Here is a picture of my mantle. I made the canvas a long time ago. (No, I can’t sell it, as I copied it from someone online.) I also made the stockings, which will NOT face the right direction. Any tips on that are appreciated!

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Here is my nativity. I share it because it is very old and worn. As you see, the poor donkey looks more like a dinosaur here without its ears.

We went small on a tree this year, but I love the old ornaments on it from when my kids were little. We have collected so many over the years, I cannot even put them all on the tree anymore.

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Because I got a puppy for Christmas and I think he is adorable, here is a picture of Phineas napping in front of the tree.

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Okay, one more of little Phin…he has started lifting one ear all the time. Cracks me up.

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I hope you have a very merry Christmas filled with family, love and lots of laughter.

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writing

First Line Fridays – Mist O’er The Voyageur

First Line FridaysHere’s another First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books!  It’s a fun way to share good books and spread the love of words on the page.

My publisher has been releasing some great books! Mist O’er The Voyageur by Naomi Musch not only has a beautiful cover, but it also promises to be a great story!

About the book:

Mist Oer the Voyageur_Naomi Musch

After her aunt’s death, Brigitte Marchal finds herself alone in Montreal. Desperate to flee a loathsome suitor and find her long-absent, fur-trader father, she disguises herself as a young man and travels west with the voyageurs’ brigade. But her inexperience and inhibitions soon betray her secret.

René Dufour yields to the unwelcome position of shielding Brigitte, but for how long? He cannot keep her true identity a secret forever. Torn between his obligations to the North West Company and his promise to honor his family’s legacy, René is forced to make a choice: one that may prove more painful than he imagined.

As Brigitte adjusts to life in the rugged frontier, she struggles to reconcile her feelings for René with her desire to find her father. Greater still is her crisis of faith when she encounters a type of mysticism found along the shores of Lake Superior.

First Line:

Brigitte Marchal gripped the handle of her wicker basket tighter, wishing to stall, but the nun beckoned her without looking back.

flourishFirst Line Fridays_Hoarding BooksNow it’s your turn! Grab the nearest book (or the book you are reading) and share the first line in the comments. Then head over to Hoarding Books and check out the linky with more First Line participants. 

Have a great weekend!

 

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