Friday, May 18, 2018

Blog Tour and Giveaway: "An Imperfect Promise" by Kari Trumbo

About the Book

An Imperfect Promise
Series: Abiding Love
Genre: 
Christian, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Indie
Publication Date: April 27,  2018
Some promises aren’t meant to last a lifetime.
Gini would do just about anything to take care of the eleven orphans in her custody. She’s vowed to never marry, but that oath is pushed to the limits when John moves in next door. The new Nebraska rancher is a tad abrasive but willing to step in when the entire town has given up on her little orphanage. She’s prayed for help for so long, but are God’s plans even bigger than she can conceive?
There are some things a man can’t outrun.
John’s running from the love he left behind in Kansas. On a mission to help his sister, John takes over her ranch, which has seen its share of problems. Day after day, John fights against those trying to seize his land, but a more present danger lurks right next door, the sweet redheaded owner of the orphanage, who’s fast stealing his heart.
As the world closes in on him, John must protect his home from rustlers and his heart from getting trampled, once again. If he can’t, he just might lose them both.

About the Author

Kari Trumbo
Kari Trumbo is a co-author of the best-selling Cutter’s Creek continuity series as well as her personal series, The Seven Brides of South Dakota. She began her writing journey four years ago and has published over twenty titles through self-publishing. Prior to writing, she was a freelance developmental editor and beta reader.
Kari has a degree in Psychology and home schools her four children. She loves to learn new things and believes life should always be a learning environment. To continue her writing education, she is a part of the national Romance Writers of America and the American Christian Fiction Writers Association along with her local chapter, MN N.I.C.E.

Author Interview

1. What are the top 5 books currently on your TBR pile?
I am so behind on my reading! Top 5 in no particular order are!
1) Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
2) When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin
3) The Innkeepers Daughter by Michelle Griep
4) Lady Jayne disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano
5) The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo
2. What does your writing process look like?  Specifically, what was it like for An Imperfect Promise?
To anyone looking in from the outside, my process is probably a mess, but this is just how my brain works the best. I always have 3 books going on at once and I juggle them throughout the day. In the morning, I’m doing rewrites before a book gets sent to the editor (and marketing my newest released titles). In the afternoon, I’m working on the edits of the next book I will release. In the evening, I’m writing the next book. It all flows really well. This is a full-time job for me and it’s rare that I don’t put in about 60 hours a week between writing, editing, marketing, and improving my craft.
3. What inspired the idea for An Imperfect Promise?
The whole story started with one man that I felt sorry for. I couldn’t just let him go. Poor John (the hero) was in love with Margot from one of my other series (To Love and Comfort) and he leaves to go help his sister. I was so sorry to see him go, even though he was not a particularly likeable character in the other book, and he’s not in the beginning of this book either. He had to be a grump, he’d just been betrayed. He’s angry and doesn’t trust women.
Then, I had to think of the perfect (imperfect) heroine for him. Someone who had also been hurt. A friend of mine and I were talking about promises one day and how people don’t treat them as importantly as they should. People toss around the word promise like they toss around the word love and it’s lost some of its meaning. That conversation lead to the creation of the Gini characters and what her deep turmoil could be.
4. What did you as an author take away from writing An Imperfect Promise?
So very much. I actually re-wrote this story more than three times. It was originally written to be a novella, then I found areas that needed deepening. It then became a short novel and I intended to submit it to Love Inspired Historicals. I found out while it was in editing that Love Inspired Historicals would not be taking any more westers. At that point, I knew the book didn’t need to be held back by a word count and my editor and I fleshed out everything. Now, it is a full length novel, and I’m more pleased with it than I was at any other point in its many stages of life.
5. What is your current WIP?  What can you share with us about it?
I’m currently working on the sequel to the first book of my Brides of Belle Fourche series. The first book is in the Timeless Love Charity Collection, but only for a limited time. I have the preorder up, but the novella itself is still in production. It’s called What the Heart Holds.

Snippet

A door behind him swung open, then closed with a soft click. “Might I help you find something?” asked a soft voice from behind him. He jumped at the intrusion and the woman’s proximity, slamming his head on the open cabinet door. He flung it closed, swallowing the harsh words that came too easy these days. Who in blazes could that be? White stars danced in front of his face, obscuring his vision. The brighter they flared, the more his head screamed at him. He blinked the bright flashes and moisture from his eyes to reveal a young woman. Her hair was either the brightest red he’d ever seen, or the glow around her meant she was an angel. She stood maybe five foot, short for a full-grown woman. He felt as cumbersome as a giant next to her. She paused by the door, a small basket clutched close. Now that the stars were clearing, he could make out her pleasant smile and pale-green eyes framed by a mass of curly red hair, smothered by a great yellow bonnet he’d mistaken for a halo. He wanted to smile back, if only the pain in his head would let him. The subtle tightening in his chest brought back thoughts of Margot, the woman he’d left back in Kansas, with dark hair and blue eyes. Remembering her would get him nowhere but angry, and he turned from the girl, scrubbing a hand across his face to erase both images. No sense living in the past. A man wasn’t a measure of what he carried with him, but he’d learned from it. “I don’t think that’ll help.” She stepped farther into the room and he glanced at her as a smile flickered across her face. She laid a gentle hand on his arm. Too gentle. He pulled away. He wasn’t there for kindness. He was there to work, and to forget. “Would you like a cool rag? I could get one for you. You might get a bump on your head.” Her voice was soft and coaxing, like she was speaking to a wary child, not a grown man. He pinched the bridge of his nose and used the motion to wipe the water collecting there. “I can get a rag all on my own.” His tone was more abrupt than he’d meant, and when she stepped back from him with hurt in her eyes, he cleared his throat and tried again. “Who are you, and what’cha doing in my kitchen?” He pressed his palm to his forehead against the pain, praying the little angel would get what she needed and move on. If she asked where Martha was, he’d be in an awkward place, since she hadn’t shown herself yet. Her smile faltered. “Your kitchen? Oh, you must be Martha’s brother. I didn’t realize you’d arrived. She’s been waiting for you for so long. I’m Gini. Martha lets me trade eggs for milk.” She set the basket on the counter and held out her hand to him. He stared at her for a minute while he found his voice. The girl certainly wasn’t afraid to face a stranger. He reached for her hand, small inside his own. He’d never thought of himself as peculiarly large, but she made him feel so. Her hand was soft, though calloused with work, and she took it back as quickly as she’d offered it. A nervous smile bloomed and fell from her face. “John. I’m John. Do you need me to get the milk for you?” He should just slug himself. Could he sound any more daft? Was he imagining that slight smile or just seeing what he wanted to? She took the eggs out of her basket and placed them in an empty one on the counter. “No thank you. I’m rather capable at this point, I’ve been doing it for a few months now. I’ve got to finish here and get back to the children.” She turned but tossed another small smile at him over her shoulder. “It was good to meet you”—she hesitated, and her face tinged a pretty pink—“John. Welcome to Nebraska.”

Giveaway

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "The Amish Teacher's Gift" by Rachel J. Good

About the Book

Amish Teachers giftTitle: The Amish Teacher’s Gift, Book 1 of the Love & Promises Series
Author: Rachel J Good
Genre: Amish Romance
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Widower Josiah Yoder wants to be a good father. But it’s not easy with a deaf young son who doesn’t understand why his mamm isn’t coming home. At a loss, Josiah enrolls Nathan in a special-needs school and is relieved to see his son immediately comforted by his new teacher, a woman whose sweet charm and gentle smile just might be the balm they both need.
With seven siblings to care for, Ada Rupp wasn’t sure she wanted to take on teaching too. But the moment she holds Nathan in her arms, she realizes she’ll do all she can to help this lost little boy. Plus, it gives her a chance to spend more time with Josiah. Falling for a man in mourning may be against the rules, but his quiet strength is the support Ada never knew she needed. Yet with no time to court and a family secret holding her back, how can she allow herself to fall in love?
My Thoughts "The Amish Teacher's Gift" is the first book in a new series by Rachel J. Good and I was excited to be able to read this book. I found the book flowed well and was well written. I liked the characters and felt frustrated for them when events seemed to conspire against them. My heart ached for Josiah and his desire to be close to his son and for Ada and how she had to be 'mother' and 'father' instead of 'sister'. The subject of a special needs school in an Amish community was fascinating and I enjoyed learning more about it. I look forward to reading the other books in the series. 

About the Author

rachel goodRachel J. Good grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish novels. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events. Rachel loves to travel and visit many different Amish communities.
Rachel is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Booksand the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapel series. In addition, she has stories in the anthologies Springs of Love and Love’s Thankful Heart.
She’d love to have you visit her website, or connect with her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter, and Bookbub. Rachel also enjoys meeting readers and will be doing talks and booksignings around the country this year. To find out more about Rachel and her books, you can sign up for her newsletter: http://bit.ly/1qwci4Q

Guest Post from Rachel J. Good

Heart-Tugging Research
Sometimes as an author, stories call to you and beg you to write them. This story first tugged at my heart after I spent time with an Amish friend’s special needs child. I thought about writing a book to show how the Amish treat each child as a gift from God. After meeting a hearing-impaired teen girl with Down’s syndrome and seeing how she was encouraged to live up to her potential, the idea grew stronger. This girl later became Martha in the book.
Then at an auction, I watched a young Down’s syndrome boy help the auctioneer by delivering the goods to the bidders. His straw hat tilted a little crookedly, but with a broad smile on his face, he carefully matched items with the correct bidder. He looked so proud of himself and proud to be able to do such an important job. I sat there at the auction and jotted notes for the novel.
Once I knew the topic of the novel, I began my research by visiting Amish schools for special needs, attending auctions to support them, and touring the Community Care Center, where Amish and Mennonite children and adults with special needs get amazing help. The young man in the wheelchair who showed us around was an awesome guide. We peeked into an exercise room, a therapy room, a craft room, several classrooms, a cafeteria, and my favorite—a multi-sensory environment. This room with dark walls lit only by a small row of twinkling Christmas lights had a ball pit (with the plastic balls like some fast food restaurants have in their play areas), a plush recliner, blankets, headphones, and a hammock. Autistic children at the center found this room a great calming atmosphere. I knew this room had to have a place in the book.
I visited a teacher who taught autistic children and learned a lot about programs, therapies, and teaching techniques. After learning the cutting edge techniques she used, I was surprised to realize that the Amish had adopted quite a few of them for their classrooms. I chose a hearing-impaired boy for the hero’s son because I had a nephew with hearing problems, so I could incorporate some of the struggles he had into the story.
I wanted this series to be about the healing power of love, so each book will deal with a different type of healing. When something touches my heart like this, I always pray it will touch the readers’ hearts too.

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, May 8
Mary Hake, May 15
Artistic Nobody, May 18 (Spotlight)
margaret kazmierczak, May 18 (Interview)
Quiet Quilter, May 19
Bigreadersite, May 20
Simple Harvest Reads, May 20 (Spotlight)
Vicky Sluiter, May 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize package of a tote, an autographed copy of The Amish Teacher’s Gift, and an autographed copy of Hearts Reunited!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cee3/the-amish-teacher-s-gift-celebration-tour-giveaway
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"The Amish Teacher's Gift" is available in paperback:
  • Series: Love and Promises (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Forever (April 24, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1538711265
  • ISBN-13: 978-1538711262
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 4973 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Forever (April 24, 2018)
  • Publication Date: April 24, 2018
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B074M66MKP

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for this review.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Craft Show Disappointments

A friend from church told us about a craft show at the TSC (Tractor Supply Company) near us. It was free to have a booth and we had been having beautiful weather, so we figured it was a win-win situation. The last few days, however, have been rainy and chilly. The forecast for today looked a bit chilly, but at least no rain. There ended up only being 4 booths and it was quite windy. So it felt really cold and our stuff kept blowing around. Between my stuff, the things the kids were selling, and the dishcloths we had for my mom, we made $28. But since we didn't pay anything for the spot, it was all profit, so there is that. It was just a little disappointing to sit there all day and freeze without much to show for it.



The booth next to us had some bunnies and the kids held them and cuddled with them. Will ended up with a rash on his cheek and neck, so apparently he's allergic to rabbits!

Will's rash from holding the bunny. The picture doesn't show it very well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "The Spirit of Christmas" by Lauraine Henderson

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About the Book

The Spirit of Christmas
George Stone can’t wait for the Christmas season to be over and his employees, especially his executive assistant, Kathryn Gleason, focused once again on their work. When a missing report requires George to stop in at Kathryn’s parents’ home the day before Christmas Eve, he ends up as an unexpected guest. Between the haunting journals of his late grandfather and the unsettling dream of an unhappy future, George is swept away by the magic of Kathryn’s charm and her family’s love.
Will the Spirit of Christmas show George the happiness he’s missing and will Kathryn’s warmth and beauty melt his cold heart?

About the Author

lauraine-henderson_1
Lauraine lives with her husband, dog and cat on 68 acres of woodland 40 miles north of Portland, Oregon. After growing up in Oregon, they moved their family of three children to Utah. From there they moved to Hawaii and Arizona, finally coming back to Oregon in 2015. Their three children, two girls and a boy, are all grown and live across the United States. After being a professional bookkeeper for over twenty years, she turned her hobby of writing into her first published novel in 2016. She loves to write inspirational romance and hopes her readers will be both entertained and uplifted by her stories. When she’s not writing, she loves to paint (watercolors, oils, and acrylics), sew, knit, crochet, and read (of course!).
 FACEBOOK | BLOG | AMAZON

Author Interview

1. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Here are some of my favorite authors: Cindy Roland Anderson, Rachael Anders on, Cami Checketts, Diane Darcy, Regina Duke, Shannon Guymon, Shanna Hatfield, Heather Horrocks, Victorine Lieske, Lucy McConnell, Jennifer Peel, Regina Scott, Brooke St. James, Staci Stallings, and Amy Vastine to name a few! I am always trying out new authors in the genre I like to read and write.
Do they inspire your own writing? I’ve been told that to be a good writer, you should read good authors in your own genre. In that sense, yes, the authors I read inspire me. I believe the high quality of their craft rubs off on me when I write. At least, I hope so.
2. If you were to go to lunch with one of the characters of your book, who would you go with and why?
I love my leading characters, but I already know them inside and out. So, I would go to lunch with Katherine’s mother, Mary. She is a positive-thinking woman who isn’t blind to the sparks flying between her daughter and George. I would love to talk to her about her faith, attitude, and peace as she deals with the difficult circumstances in her family’s lives.
3. Which character in the book was the easiest to write and why?
The easiest character to write was Katherine. She is a beautiful person inside and out. I could see her sense of spirit and confidence in her own faith as she gently works on George. The hardest and why? The hardest would be George, because he is the other leading character and I didn’t really delve into the supporting characters much. His character was more difficult because I needed to see things from the perspective of a life filled with disappointment, which isn’t my life. I drew on my imagination more when deciding the natural reaction he would have to the events of the story.
4. What inspired the idea for The Spirit of Christmas?
I love the story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Because I am always “listening” for the next inspiration for a new story, I pondered the idea of a Scrooge who would not only find the spirit of Christmas at the end of his holiday, but find love as well. From there, when I changed the Bob Cratchit character to a young woman, the story came to me quickly.
5. What do you want readers to take away from reading The Spirit of Christmas?
Beyond the normal hope for readers to feel that they have spent a pleasant couple of hours reading about two people who found each other in the end, I want to evoke a feeling of the beauty of Christmas and the idea that people can change their attitudes when they’re exposed to positive, uplifting people (even when their lives aren’t perfect). Yet, in the end, I just want them to close the book with a smile and then tell their friends…😊
6a. What is your current WIP?
Daisies in the Driveway
6b. What can you tell us about it?It’s the story about two un-related grandchildren who are offered the opportunity to take over their respective grandparents’ Bed & Breakfast/Campground. They have a disjointed combined history connected to the bed and breakfast. Besides the tumultuous events as they learn to manage the business over the course of the summer they take over the inn, they find additional trouble by making erroneous judgment calls, temporarily preventing them from exploring their growing feelings for each other.

Snippet

Kathryn awkwardly squeezed past George to leave the room. The electricity between them was almost palpable and he would have bet money she felt it as much as he did. The buzz while she passed him emphasized the emptiness he felt at Kathryn’s departure and added to his emotional strain.
It wasn’t until he started undressing that he realized how out of place his shirt and slacks from work appeared. The elegant cut of his business wear shouted ‘stranger’ in the make-shift bedroom of the back pantry of an old farmhouse. And until this very moment, George would have agreed and embraced the ‘stranger’ label. Now he wasn’t so sure he liked it for himself.
Loosening his tie, he slid it off his neck and rested it on the end of the bed. Pulling his shirt tail out of his pants, he unbuttoned a few buttons and then unhooked the waistband of his slacks. He looked around for a hanger, but the cupboard in the wall held only shelves and he couldn’t see anywhere to hang his pants and shirt.
“Oh!” Kathryn’s voice surprised George and he grabbed the wall to keep from falling over while his heart jumped around in his throat.
“I’m so sorry. I should have knocked. I didn’t know you would get ready so fast,” she said. The merry twinkling in her eyes as she looked him up and down in his disheveled state brought back that crimson rush.
“Did you want something?” George asked in his most boss-like manner.
Kathryn swallowed and her eyes burned into his. He hung his hands to his side, feeling exposed, even though he was still completely dressed. Had he said that wrong?
Kathryn recovered before George could answer himself. “I brought you these,” she said, holding out a pair of plaid pajama pants. “They belong to my brother-in-law so they should fit. I thought you might be more comfortable in case you had to get up in the night…or something.”
George couldn’t stop the smile as he watched Kathryn’s embarrassed face match his own for color. “Oh, uh, thank you.”
Kathryn turned away quickly, letting him know how to find the bathroom as she hustled through the kitchen.
Two hours later, George laid on his back, his arms crossed behind his head and stared at the ceiling. Visions of Kathryn sitting at the dinner table, tucking her nieces and nephew into bed, and bringing him pajamas refused to fade away and let him sleep. The memory of her uncontrollable laughter echoed in his heart. Rolling over, he buried his face into the pillow and groaned. The scent of her soft floral perfume infiltrated his defenses until he gave in and relaxed. It was only then that he finally succumbed to a fitful sleep.

Review

I had never heard of Lauraine Henderson before this book tour. I enjoyed reading the contemporary retelling of The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I thought it was clever how Lauraine Henderson worked in the "ghosts" that visited Scrooge in the original story so that George in The Spirit of Christmas experiences similar glimpses into the past, present, and future of his life. It was a very quick read so the romance happens quickly, but when you factor in the fact that they'd known each other for three years, it makes it less rushed. The true reason for Christmas is clearly given. I look forward to reading more books by Lauraine Henderson.

Givaway

The Spirit of Christmas E-book giveaway
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Reviewer: Mindy Houng
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I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.