Sunday, April 30, 2017

Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano and #giveaway

Behind the Scenes 

Apart From the Crowd #1 

Paperback, ebook, hardcover

April 18, 2017

by Jen Turano

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764217944

Start of a Delightful New Series from Historical Romance Author Jen Turano

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn't guaranteed to "take." After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she's finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym "Miss Quill."

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it's simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she's determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she'll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there's more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, BEHIND THE SCENES is a really cute, humorous historical set in New York about a rich socialite who is a confirmed wallflower. Most of the characters have really odd names, I didn't take the time to look them up to see if they are legit or not.  I did recognize some names as being prominent back then. 

The language is quite formal, but probably the way the rich and famous talked back then. It was rather jarring and made me focus on words instead of story. 

I enjoyed getting to know Asher and Permilia. Permilia lacked all kinds of social graces and didn't know how to act around people, with even pleasantries.  It was laugh out loud funny at times.  And Asher, of course, was sweet. 

If you like humorous books and historicals, give BEHIND THE SCENES  a try,

To order your copy, click here.

About the Author

Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at

Interview With Jen Turano

  1. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?
    Amusing things happen to me all the time, but I think my favorite was back in college when I was a lifeguard. You see, there’s a lifeguard code – You will be cool at all times, especially when you’re sitting in a lifeguard chair, twirling your whistle exactly so, and, you know…looking cool. So, there I was, in my black lifeguard bathing suit – swinging my whistle. It was an unusually hot day, so I’d angled my umbrella exactly right as I watched the diving-board section. Now, I know this might come as a surprise, but being a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s rare that anything exciting happens, and that particular day was no exception…until a large gust of wind came out of nowhere and the umbrella took it upon itself to close – right over me. And because it was now really gusty, the umbrella then lifted up, taking me with it right off the chair and into the depths of the deep end of the pool. From all accounts, it was quite the sight. First, there I was, swinging my whistle and looking groovy. Then all you could see were my legs flailing about as the umbrella covered the rest of me, and then…I was plummeting toward the pool, hit the water with the umbrella over me, and promptly sank. Obviously I managed to get out of the umbrella, but in the process, part of my bathing suit came off, and…well, that’s a story for another day.

  1. What is your favorite book from your childhood?
    “Andrew Henry’s Meadow.” It was actually my little brother’s book, gotten from one of those book of the month clubs, but I loved it. I recently found a copy on an e-site and ordered it, and it’s just as delightful today as it was back in my childhood.

  1. Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?

 I don’t actually cook much even when I’m not on deadline, so that’s not really an issue. Al and I do a lot of salads or throw some chicken on the grill. We also have a lot of grocery stores that have wonderful deli and gourmet foods, so we get a lot of things there. As for cleaning, I’m one of those neurotic people who can’t work without everything being in place, so I do a lot of tidying up before I go to bed. And, because I do some of my best thinking when I clean, I’ve been known to abandon my writing when I get stuck and pick up a mop or cleaning rag, which means my house is rarely a disaster since I need to get unstuck a lot.

  1. Where is your favorite place to write?
    I do the majority of my writing in my office, although I will occasionally take a pad of paper and a pen outside to handwrite when I get bored of my office or it’s a really nice day and I don’t feel like being trapped inside. It’s not that my office is my favorite place to write, it’s more that my writing is my job and I’m more focused on that writing when I approach it as such.

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I really like when characters and new story ideas begin to fester. That normally happens when I’m in the midst of another series. By the time I’m done with whatever series I’m working on, the next series is pretty firmly set in my mind, which means I can jump right in as I wait for edits on recently completed work. My absolute favorite part of writing, though, is when I turn in the very final edit on a book and don’t see it again until it comes out in print. Although, I must admit, I’ve never, not once, read one of my books after it has gone to print. Seems rather pointless since I do always know how the book is going to end.

  1. Why did you choose the timeframe or setting this book is written in?
    I’ve been wanting to set a book during Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of March, 1883, for years. Since I decided to slowly travel through the Gilded Age, I just reached 1883 on my plot timeline, so knew I was finally going to get to throw some characters into the very midst of Alva’s ball. It was a blast to write, loved going back to all my books on this particular ball and seeing the pictures, and only wish the Vanderbilt house at 660 Fifth Avenue was still standing so I could visit it in person to visualize the splendors located inside a little more clearly.
  1. What inspires you?

 I think like most writers, I simply get inspired by the world around me. I love to people watch, and I love to imagine all sorts of outlandish scenarios as I do that watching. I also get inspired by reading the headlines of the daily papers, and by the research books I read. I also love to look through old photographs of the Gilded Age, and became intrigued with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball when I saw a picture of a young lady, Miss Kate Strong, with a stuffed cat on her head and wearing a choker necklace with the name Puss engraved on it. That was all it took for me to investigate the Vanderbilt ball further, delighted to discover it truly was a ball that only comes along every blue moon.

Blog Stops

April 27: Reading Is My SuperPower

April 27: The Scribbler

April 27: Genesis 5020

April 28: Back Porch Reads

April 29: Bookworm Mama

April 30: Radiant Light

April 30: Bigreadersite

April 30: Lane Hill House

May 3: Book by Book

May 5: Baker Kella


To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

How Classic Movies from the 1940s Made Their Way in My Latest Novel By Tamera Lynn Kraft

One thing I loved about writing my post World War Two novel was my main character’s passion for movies. Alice Brighton and her late husband loved to go to movies on Friday nights. Now, even after the war made her a widow, Alice still loves movies and compares everyone she meets to a movie character.

Of course for Alice, all these wonderful classic movies and movie stars and a part of her culture, but for me, it was so much fun because I love classic movies. In the novel, Alice compares her landlord to Cary Grant. Cary Grant is one of my favorites. After starring in movies like Suspision, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Notorious, Grant was one of the biggest stars around in 1946 when Alice’s Notions takes place. My favorite Cary Grant movie wouldn’t be made until a few years later. An Affair to Remember, released 1957, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is one of my all-time favorites.

At one point in the novel, Alice thinks back to when her late husband always said she reminded him of Judy Garland. Garland would have been twenty-four at the time, just a bit younger than Alice, but she became a big star in her teens. She began acting at two years old when she debuted as Baby Francis and sang Jingle Bells. After playing in various roles including a few movies with Mickey Rooney, Garland had her big break in The Wizard of Oz. She went on to star in a ton of movies and had a thriving singing career until she committed suicide in the 1960s. One of my favorite Judy Garland movies released in 1945 during the war was The Clock. The Clock was about a woman who met and fell in love with a GI on leave. Their romance was intensified because they only had the weekend before he was shipped out again for the remainder of the war. This movie must have been in Alice’s mind since she had lost her husband shortly after the movie came out.

During Alice’s Notions, Alice goes on a date to see the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. It was released in 1946 and was considered scandalous at the time because the two main characters have an affair and murder her husband. The main theme of the movie is you can’t get away with your sin. The truth will be revealed. In Alice’s Notions, the truth being revealed is also a main theme.

So you may be wondering what classic movie Alice’s Notions reminds me of. Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn was released in 1963. In that movie, Hepburn is being pursued and doesn’t know who she can trust. The movie has light hearted intrigue, suspense, and romance just like Alice’s Notions. Alice is also in the middle of intrigue she doesn’t understand and  doesn’t know who she can trust.

Alice’s Notions Blurb:
In this quaint mountain town, things aren't always what they seem.
World War 2 widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn't know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons
Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn't know who she can trust.

Buying Links:


Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. She’s been married for 38 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. Tamera has two novellas in print: A Christmas Promise and Resurrection of Hope. Her first full length novel, Alice’s Notions, was released in April.

Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.
You can contact Tamera on her website at

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.
Word Sharpeners Blog:

Friday, April 28, 2017

Silver Bells by Debbie Mayne

Silver Bells 

A Christmas Novella 

ebook, audio

by Debby Mayne

  • Print Length: 65 pages
  • Publisher: Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications 
  • Publication Date: February 7, 2017
  • ASIN: B01N1A3UP0

Widowed Carol Scheirer never thought she'd find love again, but her late husband's closest friend Alex Knight manages to tug at her heart in a way she never thought possible. As much as she wants to experience romantic love again, she has to face her children who don't approve. Is it possible for Carol and Alex to overcome family obstacles and enjoy their own happily-ever-after?

In this inspirational Christmas romance set in Colorado, two mature people show how it's possible for anyone to fall in love at any age. There are additional complications as the family life dynamic changes.

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I bought a copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, SILVER BELLS is a cute story about an older couple. Alex has been a part of her life forever, her husband's best friend, and he took care of her since Paul died. Now he's ready to move on, but it seems Carol is still grieving, five years later. 

Knowing Carol as he does, Alex starts taking baby steps to prepare her for a life together. I have to admire his persistence. Carol never even suspects a thing (which makes me wonder if she's a bit clueless, because some steps were so obvious.) 

All in all a cute novella, easily read in a few hours. And even though it's spring when I read this, its never too late (or too early) for Christmas stories. 

There is a weak faith message included. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Love in Store Majolica by Anita Mae Draper and #giveaway!

Thank you for hosting me, Laura. It's a pleasure to be here.

Giveaway: Anita is giving away a print copy of The SECRET ADMIRER Romance Collection in conjunction with this post. If you want a chance to win it, leave a comment before Sunday midnight April 30.

Looking through old catalogues gives a true sense of what was available to the staunch people who settled the west. So when I needed authentic items for the 1890 store in my new novella, Love in Store, I researched china and pottery items for the last couple decades of the 19th century.
Catalogue references to majolica ware for pitchers, vases, and flower pots made it sound like a common item, yet I'd never heard of it, so that's where my research began. When I found the following example in an 1894 catalogue, I knew majolica was pretty enough to be featured in my hero's Emporium.

Caption: Majolica Flower Pot. Source: T. Eaton Co, Ltd. Spring and Summer Catalogue, 1894

What is majolica? The simplest explanation is that majolica is an earthenware item covered with a lead- or tin-based glaze before painting. This surface allows for a brilliant white, opaque surface which, when painted, gives it lustrous qualities. Once I saw a few examples, I was able to pick majolica out of a group of pottery, although I won't hazard a guess whether I was looking at an authentic piece or a reproduction.

What struck me is that majolica items are imaginative and whimsical pieces—perfect for Adam's Emporium in Love in Stove. To give you an idea of what I mean, I've pinned several majolica pieces to my Pinterest story board, Novella: Love in Store.  (

On the heels of my majolica research, I was searching through a stack of dishes at my local recycle aka second hand store and found an incredible dish with Lily of the Valley flowers in a textured bowl. Although I hadn't seen the pattern before, I quivered at the thought that it might be majolica. Flipping it over didn't quell my rising excitement when I didn't see majolika, but the fact that it was made in Germany gave an indication that it was probably a current reproduction.

Caption: Reproduction majolica bowl w/handle holes

Further research confirmed the bowl as being a reproduction of the Palm Leaf and Lily of the Valley pattern originally made in the Villeroy & Boch factory in Schramberg, Germany. It took another search to find an image showing the holes fitted with a carrying handle.

Caption: Reproduction Majolica bowl with carrying handle

Finding majolica at the same time I was writing about it was one of those blessings that feel like God's pat on the back. It also brought Adam's Emporium to life. I created my Love in Store Pinterest board to show the inspiration behind the story. It fueled my imagination as I wrote the novella, and now I hope it brings Adam and Janet's story to life for you as well.

Anita's books are available wherever Christian books and ebooks are sold including

A special LOVE IN STORE PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY will be held in celebration of the May 1st release of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection. For details, check the Contests & Giveaways page of Anita's website. (

Anita Mae Draper writes her historical romances under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yield fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details. Her Christian faith is reflected in her stories of forgiveness and redemption as her characters struggle to find their way to that place we call home. Anita loves to correspond with her readers through any of the social media links found at

Readers can enrich their reading experience by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her published stories at

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Close to You

Close to You: A Novel 

Paperback, ebook

April 26, 2016

by Kara Isaac

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501117329

A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together--and fall in love--on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in "happily ever after" ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can't face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him--for his biggest business competitor--and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he'll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can't stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they're not looking for?

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, I wouldn't know a Took if I met one on the street and I am probably the only person on the planet who has never sat through a Hobbit movie. The references in this book were losing me as a reader, so my daughter who read this book and has seen every Hobbit movie ever made and read all the Hobbit books is now stepping in to review this. So without further ado, here's my daughter: 

CLOSE TO YOU is a very good book. If you are a dedicated Lord Of The Rings fan, then it is guaranteed to drive you nuts how much the hero doesn't know. He is floundering through it because all he wants is his great-uncle's money. The tour guide was being driven nuts as soon she picked him up at the airport, because she was dressed up as a Hobbit and Jackson didn't know what she was supposed to be dressed up as. All he knew is that she wore padding, an ugly dress and a frizzy wig and that is all he knew about it. 

When he encountered a gollum/smeagol statue, he was thrown for a loop and had to look it up in a "cheater book".  

Allison is a dedicated Lord of the Rings fan and she knows more than I know about it. And she's always verbally slapping Jackson upside the head. 

5 stars. I loved this book to death, I loved it.   (Mom stepping back in here) If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you will adore this book. If you are joining me in the "haven't got a clue" category, then maybe not so much. Awarding this book the stars my daughter assigned.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Spring of Weddings

Click here to purchase your copy

About the Book

A Spring of Weddings
Book: A Spring of Weddings: A Contemporary Spring Weddings Collection
Authors: Toni Shiloh & Melissa Wardwell,
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: March 30, 2017
A Proxy Wedding
Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all, so when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.
Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he must take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree fa├žade, his emotions become involved.
Will love become real at A Proxy Wedding?
My thoughts: A Proxy Wedding was the first book I've read by Toni Shiloh.  It was a unique premise - I never read a story with a proxy wedding before. It was weird, but a very sweet romance as two strangers--complete opposites--were forced together for a week, even standing side by side as a judge pronounced them man and wife (in their friends' names, of course.) And what better than a wedding to make you think romance? 

The black moment seemed a little off. Carly completely changed personality there. So did Damien for that matter. 

All in all a sweet novella and I enjoyed reading it  
Hope Beyond Savannah
Lily Allman and Nikotemo (Nik) Lagatuo were the poster children for the term “opposites attract.” He was an evangelist and CEO for a non-profit from Samoa who grew up in a large loving family. She was a blond bombshell with a funky style and no family to call her own. Two of the most unlikely people meet in the most unlikely of places, but God had a plan when He brought them together. They never let their differences deter them from the love they had for each other, but when Nik’s mother comes to the States for the wedding, the idea of wedded bliss is shaken. Can prejudices be over looked, insecurities overcome, and hope for a better future be restored so that these two can have all that was promised?

My thoughts:  Hope Beyond Savannah is also the first book I've read by Melissa Wardwell. This one a bit more difficult to read than Toni's, as I was in Lily's position where I was the girl my then boyfriend wanted to marry and his mom treated me every bit as badly as Nik's mother treated Lily. I do admire Nik for standing up for Lily.

This story was very well written, Ms. Wardell is a talented author and I loved the way she wove it together so seamlessly. And despite the rocky, depressing situation Nik and Lily found themselves in, it worked out beautifully.

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, A SPRING OF WEDDINGS contained two stories by two new-to-me authors. I enjoy reading contemporary romances, and these were sweet. They are both clearly Christian, but gentle with the faith message. If you like contemporary romances, you will want to read this collection. 

About the Authors
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

MWardwell-4Melissa Wardwell was born and raised in a small mid-Michigan community living there still with her Husband and three children. She enjoys taking pictures, reading, and leisurely rides with her husband on their motorcycle. All her stories revolve around women who are mothers. Single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own.
Her hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life.

Guest posts from Toni & Melissa

A Proxy Wedding
By Toni Shiloh
Spring is here! I love it because I always think of new beginnings as the flowers bud and then bloom. The trials and tribulation of the winter season are no longer on my mind. My hope that the winter season would not linger begins to become visible as new life takes shape on the bare trees. The seeds I planted in faith of God’s faithfulness sprout up in hope and promise.
When I sat down to write A Proxy Wedding, I had to imagine spring time, because the dreary, overcast skies outside my window were a constant reminder that I was in a season of sickness. One person would get sick, then the next, and the next. By the time the last person got sick, the round would start over. Visits to the doctor were made. Miserable kids were constantly whining in their discomfort.
It. Was. Rough.
It made perfect sense for me to throw my characters into a new situation. One that would make the stretch, take them out their comfort zone, and search for God’s goodness. I wanted to give them a hint of goodness and throw in a trial or two so they could make the decision that sometimes, risk is worth it. Just as we all react differently to new situations, so did my characters.
Carly was intent on making lemonade from her lemons. She tries to get the handsome broker, Damien, to see the importance of smelling roses and lingering over new adventures. Of course, Damien wasn’t partial to the frivolity. He’s so intent on becoming a success that he had no time to slow down.
In order for them to see God’s handiwork in their lives, I had to remind them that they were not products of their past. That in God, they’re a new creation with new opportunities available to them.
I hope you enjoy A Proxy Wedding. May you think of the Father’s love as you take time to stop and smell the roses.
Hope Beyond Savannah
By Melissa Wardwell
I hope you enjoy this story of love, acceptance and new beginnings. It was a joy to write because there is much more to it than the hope of marriage. It is about the blending of two families who are from two completely different cultures. Researching the island traditions, beliefs, and customs was not only fun, but enlightening. Being able to return to my background in bridal as well as the most beautiful city in the United States was just an added bonus.
With Nik and his family being from another country, I gave you a glossary of words and phrases used so you knew what was being said. I found the language to be rather beautiful and to not include it would take away from who these people are. I also give a small explanation as to what Rock-a- billy is. Lily is a funky chick who dresses in a fun and exciting way. When I saw this couple in my head, I knew it would be quite the uncommon match. As you will soon see, they fit together quite nicely.
My point in using a bi-racial couple for this story was based on what we have been seeing in the news lately. It is unlike anything I have ever done but after talking to friends in similar relationships, I knew I had to step out on this limb. I think it is time we begin to look at people through the eyes of God and not man, then we would see how beautiful we all are. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is or what our past contains, we are all God’s creation and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Blog Stops

April 25: Lighthouse Academy
April 28: Mary Hake
April 29: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
May 1: Quiet Quilter
May 4: A Greater Yes
May 5: Carpe Diem
May 7: God is Love
May 8: Autism mom


To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
Link to purchase book:
Link for giveaway:
Giveaway code: b614

Troubled Graves (Lantern Beach Exposure Book 4) by Christy Barritt

  Troubled Gra \  (Lantern Beach Exposure Book 4) by  Christy Barritt (Autho r) Some things are best left buried . . . Gunner Mathias is try...