Friday, January 29, 2021

Freebie Friday for Mystery Fans!


If you enjoy mysteries, Christy Barrit's book, Hidden Currents is free today! Looks like a great weekend read!

Get your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

You can take the detective out of the investigation, but you can't take the investigator out of the detective.

A notorious gang puts a bounty on Detective Cady Matthews’s head after she takes down their leader, leaving her no choice but to hide until she can testify at trial. But her temporary home across the country on a remote North Carolina island isn’t as peaceful as she initially thinks. 

Living under the new identity of Cassidy Livingston, she struggles to keep her investigative skills tucked away, especially after a body washes ashore. When local police bungle the murder investigation, she can’t resist stepping in. But Cassidy is supposed to be keeping a low profile. One wrong move could lead to both her discovery and her demise.

Can she bring justice to the island . . . or will the hidden currents surrounding her pull her under for good?

Thursday, January 28, 2021

New Podcast is Up!

The Authors Off the Page January podcast is live! I'm so excited for our second season. We added a new book spotlight feature and our first spotlight is Accidental Text by Becky Monson. You'll get all the behind-the-scenes scoop of how that book came to be. 

We are also discussing everything "new" like goals, writing projects, movies, gadgets and games and a sneak peek when we read excerpts of our new books. 

So cozy up with your favorite soft blanket and come laugh with us!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Best News Ever!


We've got some really big news at our house! My little grandson was born yesterday and I love this sweet boy already! He weighed in at TEN pounds! His chubby cheeks are so kissable, am I right?

I love new babies and I love seeing my children take on the role of parenting. These precious little spirits straight from heaven give me hope for the future. I can't wait to snuggle him!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Book Review: The Accidental Bride

I've really enjoyed Carolyn Twede Frank's western series set in Craig, Colorado, and I was excited to see another installment! 

In His Accidental Bride, we meet Dorothy who is desperately trying to escape her con-man brother and his schemes. A sympathetic woman on the train named Wilhemina gives her a way out---deliver a letter to the man she was supposed to marry as a mail-order bride. Dorothy agrees, but once she gets to town, everyone mistakes her for Wilhemina, even Ronald, the man who was expecting his mail-order wife. Dorothy and Ronald hit it off and soon, she can't seem to find the words to tell Ronald who she really is.

Dorothy has a lot of inner turmoil going on and she's constantly trying to figure out a way to get out of the situations she finds herself in. Ronald is the one bright spot in her life and he's definitely not a typical hero. He's quiet, reserved, and doesn't trust easily. He falls in love with Dorothy, but her past soon catches up with her. I did enjoy their slow-paced romance like a little bit of sunshine on a cold day. I thought the author did a great job with the setting and it was fun to revisit characters from previous books. I had a hard time with the ending because right when we were about to get some resolution, the author skips ahead six months and then the reader is just told what happened, which really sucked away the tension and pacing. But I was glad to see Dorothy and Ronald get a happily-ever-after and I'm hoping there will be more books in this series.

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Dorothy Bednar is living a life she despises. Forced to work as a double-dealing saloon girl, Dorothy has finally had enough. The next train out of town is her ticket to freedom, and Dorothy jumps aboard without a thought for where she’s going—until she meets a kind woman aboard the train. Her fellow passenger was originally traveling to Colorado to marry a man she’d never met, but her cold feet offer Dorothy the perfect opportunity to set up roots somewhere new. Dorothy soon finds herself posing as the mail-order bride—after all, marrying a stranger can’t be worse than what she left behind.

Young Colorado lawyer Ronald Smith is astonished when he spies the lovely woman who comes to greet him—the woman who is to be his wife. Dorothy is beyond Ronald’s wildest dreams, a kindhearted partner eager to be a homemaker and mother. To Dorothy, Ronald is the most gentlemanly man she’s ever met—a man who makes her feel safe and cherished. What begins as a deception soon deepens into true love, but too soon, Dorothy’s secret past threatens the beautiful life she’s built—a life that feels truer than anything she’s ever known.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Dancing in the Aisles


At the grocery store this morning, the song, It's the End of the World by REM was playing. The guy at the other end of my aisle started totally jamming out to it. Some people were walking by with smiles, some with puzzled looks, but the man who was dancing didn't even give them a second glance. He was lost in the moment, enjoying a song.

It was just such a fun, who-cares-who-is-watching moment. I usually care way too much about what other people think and after seeing that today, I really want to be more like that guy. Just finding the joy in something simple and celebrating without even noticing who is watching! 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Criticism and Motivation

I have a question for you. 

Last night, former basketball player Shaquille O'Neal was doing an after game interview of Donovan Mitchell, a young player on the Utah Jazz team. Donovan looked excited to talk to Shaq at first, but then Shaq said to Donovan, "you are one of my favorite players, but you don't have what it takes to get to the next level. I said it on purpose and I wanted you to hear it." 

Donovan's face kind of fell and he responded with, "All right." He did add that he's been hearing that since his rookie year and he's just going to keep doing what he does. It was truly an awkward moment, especially since Donovan had just scored 36 points in the game he'd just played and led his team to a win. 

Some have said that Mr. O'Neal was just "motivating" Donovan with his criticism and that's how they did it back in the day. So now Donovan can "prove" to Shaq that he *does* have what it takes.

So here's my question: Does criticism ever motivate you? Does it make you want to prove to the person criticizing you that they are wrong?

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Book Review: Georgana's Secret


I was very excited to read this author's romantic adventure on the high seas. I'd read a few of her fairy tale retellings and enjoyed her writing style.

In Georgana's Secret, we find Georgana disguised as a cabin boy named George on her father's ship. She has escaped an abusive situation, but now must live her life with a very big secret. But when Lieutenant Dominic Peyton takes an interest in the "boy" things start to change. Suddenly her longing for freedom becomes more urgent when she dreams of maybe finding love. But can she take the risk?

I really enjoyed this detailed adventure romance. It had a little bit of everything---pirates, ship battles, illness, exotic destinations, and even a mutiny! Of course having all of those things made the pacing a bit uneven, but the detail and depth to the characters as they underwent all the trials made it easy to overlook that. I loved Dominic as our hero, his kind heart and tenderness toward Georgana is swoon-worthy. Georgana has a difficult time of it, trying to overcome a past and reach for a future. She was definitely a relatable character and I was rooting for her to get her happily-ever-after. I also loved the secondary characters, especially the French doctor aboard the ship. I would love to know more of his backstory! But the relationships among the crew and main characters were really well-done and give a perspective of life at sea in that time period that felt real. I will definitely be looking for more from this author!

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

1811, HMS Deborah

Georgana Woodall dreams of freedom—freedom from her past and freedom from her secret. She has been living on her father’s ship for years, disguised as a cabin boy named “George.” But hiding her true self is becoming more difficult, and she yearns to break free of her life on the sea.

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. Determined to prove himself to his new captain, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the boy under his wing.

Georgana quickly loses her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care, but needing to maintain her disguise as a cabin boy, she is convinced nothing can come of her affection.

Georgana’s Secret is about two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Book Review with Lauren: Real

Real by Carol Cujec is a story about a young girl with autism and her struggle with communication and the educational opportunities presented to her. In the book, Charity is unable to speak and cannot communicate her wants or needs to her parents, teachers, or friends. She is going to a school “for throw away kids” where she is abused by the teachers and spends her days ignored or locked in a closet. Eventually, she is transferred to a school where she is able to interact with her peers in a regular classroom. Charity eventually overcomes all odds and is at last able to communicate. Other students go out of their way to bully her and make her life miserable, everything from embarrassing her purposefully to sliding a finger across their throat while glaring at Charity to make her feel threatened. A gossip site is used to rally students into wanting Charity to leave the school. The book culminates in Charity finally finding herself, her voice, and her feeling for the first time like she is a real person.

This is quite a lengthy story, and it is hard to keep track of Charity’s narration, thoughts, animal facts, and the descriptions of her outbursts. As a teacher, I found it hard to read. I know that this is based on a true story and that bullying is real, but I did not enjoy how so many people, even adults, were able to be terrible to Charity and get away with it. Everywhere Charity turns, it felt as though she is met with unwarranted hatred and mistreatment. It was a difficult read because of how cruel family members, teachers, and students were to Charity, but the message of hope and giving everyone the chance to be included makes this an enjoyable read.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Charity may have mad math skills and a near-perfect memory, but with a mouth that can’t speak and a body that jumps, rocks, and howls unpredictably, most people incorrectly assume she cannot learn. Charity’s brain works differently from most people’s because of her autism, but she’s still funny, determined, and kid. So why do people treat her like a disease or ignore her like she’s invisible?

When Charity’s parents enroll her in a public junior high school, she faces her greatest fears. Will kids make fun of her? Will her behavior get her kicked out? Will her million thoughts stay locked in her head forever? with the support of teachers and newfound friends, Charity will have to fight to be treated like a real student.

Inspired by a true story, Real speaks to all those who’ve ever felt they didn’t belong and reminds readers that all people are worthy of being included.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Christmas Giveaway!


Is anyone still reading Christmas stories? My paperback copies of The Captain's Christmas Promise finally came in, but of course it's now January. I had planned to do a giveaway in, you know, December, but here we are. 

So, if you are interested in winning a paperback copy of The Captain's Christmas Promise, just comment below and tell me what was one thing you did over the Christmas holidays that you really enjoyed. 

And just in case you wanted to know what the story is about, here is the back copy of The Captain's Christmas Promise:

A Christmas they won't forget . . .

After spending every waking moment hunting the world’s most wanted terrorist, Colt Mitchell and Brenna Wilson decide to take a break and go home for the Christmas holidays. The minute they touch down on Canadian soil, however, they are pulled into an international conspiracy that would leave the son of a Kuwaiti diplomat dead. Colt and Brenna finally locate the target, but a contract killer is hot on their trail. Retreating to the Canadian wilderness to keep everyone safe, they'll need all their skills---and maybe a Christmas miracle---to make it out alive.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

 There are so many great Martin Luther King Jr. quotes out there, but this one struck me today:

The last year has been full of challenges and I've watched family and friends really stand up and meet everything life has thrown at them. I admire so many of you in hearing how you've dealt with your trials. You all give me something to work for with how amazing you are!

I hope you have a wonderful day today!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday Freebie for Romance Fans


Do you love romance? Annette Lyon's novella collection of six romances is FREE today on Kindle! Perfect for a holiday weekend. 

Get your free copy here

Here's the back copy: The ANNETTE LYON COLLECTION contains brand new contemporary romance novella OUR SONG, as well as five hand-picked readers’ and reviewers’ favorites of Annette’s popular Timeless Romance Anthology novellas. Readers will love this selection of three contemporary and three historical romance novellas. 

In OUR SONG, a charming romance novella, Cassie and Matt have been dating in the Yellowstone area for two years, and things are, well, average. When Cassie meets up with two college friends who are visiting, their love lives like sound like fairy tales: rose petals, chocolates, candles on the beach… Cassie goes home feeling like she’s missing out. After all, repeatedly watching Old Faithful erupt and walking through sulfur-smelling gases at Fountain Paint Pot don’t exactly say “romance.” Maybe things with Matt aren’t going anywhere, and it’s time to move on. Then she discovers that perception and reality are completely different things. Now she can only hope it isn’t too late to show Matt how much she really cares.

In the sweet novella GOLDEN SUNRISE, Natalie takes time out of her crazy schedule to fly to Vegas for her best friend’s wedding. Sierra and Jason, high-school sweethearts, are finally getting married. Fortunately for Natalie, her old high-school flame, Adam, has a work commitment and can’t be there as best man. But when she arrives at the wedding rehearsal—late and ragged—Adam is there. When Adam makes a wild suggestion, Natalie just may take him up on it, even though she knows he’s moved on. A single choice may mean Natalie is taking a shot at reclaiming the past—or that she's putting her heart in harm’s way a second time.

FIRSTS AND LASTS, an enchanting novella, begins with Dani’s last week in New York. She’s failed in her dreams to catch a break as an actress and is now ready to return home and dust herself off. As she visits the places on her final to-see list, she meets Mark, another New York City transplant with big dreams. Except Mark hasn’t given up on his. As they spend the day together, Dani realizes that even though she hasn’t hit the “big time” she might be living her dream after all. Only problem: she has a one-way ticket back home.

In the compelling novella WAR OF HEARTS, Anna, a journalist, is desperate to escape the magazine where Pete, her now-former boyfriend, also works. Heartbroken and still in love with him, Anna snags an assignment to cover the Winter War in Finland. She arrives at a snowy Finnish battlefront only to discover that Pete is already there—as her photographer. She’s determined to be professional about the situation until a battle breaks out in camp, putting her and Pete in harm’s way and putting their love to the test.

The captivating novella BETWEEN THE LINES follows Jane Martin, who is intelligent but extremely shy, especially around men. When the Aid and Cultural Society proposes a letter-writing program, Jane signs up, hoping she can find true friendship. The program doesn’t run as smoothly as expected, and unknown to Jane, one of the men in her city becomes her writing friend. Thomas Allred has always known shy and quiet Jane, but reading her letters written to his secret persona, opens his eyes to what an amazing woman she is. The only trouble is, Jane doesn’t know that the man who she is falling in love with through letters is also Thomas, the man who is falling in love with her in person.

In the charming novella A TASTE OF HOME, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of the past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday, with William.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Will No One Notice?

I haven't gotten my hair cut since March of 2020 and it had grown to the middle of my back. I really needed it cut, it was just way too long, so I went ahead and made my first appointment at a salon in ten months. I had EIGHT INCHES cut off. There was so much hair on the floor! (I should have taken a picture.)

I went home and my husband didn't notice. Like, at all. It's been over a day and he still hasn't noticed! I wonder how long it will be before he notices something is different. My hair barely touches my shoulders now. That's a pretty big change in my book! LOL

It makes me wonder about the details I miss. I like to think I'd notice something like that, but maybe not! Do you think you're a pretty observant person?

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

I Need Your Opinion

So, I have this shiny new idea for a spy series and it's been simmering in my head for the last couple of months. I want to start on it so bad, but I have a few other projects that need my attention before I can. 

But while the idea is still simmering, my author friend Becky Monson mentioned one of her new favorite actors is Theo James. I looked him up and now I want to use him for character inspiration in my new series. 

Here is my question for you: Do you see him more as a spy with a dark past? Or a member of an elite military task force?

Monday, January 11, 2021

I Need Another Weekend!

I saw this today and it made me smile. If it's a weather question, the answer should always be, "go inside and read." Am I right? LOL

This was a crazy busy weekend for me. Do you ever feel like you need another weekend to recover from the weekend? Haha. We had socially distant basketball games for two of our boys, we're on baby watch for my daughter-in-law to have her baby, and we're going through everyone's clothes/rooms to declutter. I honestly never realize how much stuff we have until I try to organize it. 

I started the year out reading Sarah Eden's new book, Best Laid Plans, and I'm just starting Becky Monson's romantic comedy, The Accidental Text. I love her sense of humor! Have you read any good books so far this year?

Friday, January 8, 2021

Freebie Friday for Historical Romance Fans!

I've enjoyed Michele Paige Holmes' books before and her historical romance, A Promise for Tomorrow, is free today Jan. 8th through Monday Jan. 11th. It looks like it's a sequel and I haven't read either book in the series, so I'm not sure if they are standalone. It looks good, though!

Get your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

Marriage to the Laird is not what Katherine expected, but when she's used as a pawn between two warring clans, Katherine finds unexpected love and security in the man she thought had no heart.


Scottish Highlands, 1761:

Barely two weeks have passed since Laird Collin MacDonald first darkened Katherine Mercer’s doorstep and married her. Marriage has hardly been what she expected, given their grueling and adventurous days of travel to the Scottish Highlands. Along with the discovery that Collin’s twin Ian would like to see her dead, Katie must now face her own clan, whose chief wants to kill Collin and take her to wife himself. All because Katie possesses the Campbell gift of sight, passed down through centuries of her ancestors.

With little more than faith in her grandfather’s vision and her unique bond with Collin to guide her, Katie steps bravely into an unknown future, where the glimpses afforded her may bring more danger than direction. When the misuse of her gift takes Collin from her side, she is left alone and vulnerable. Help arrives in the most unexpected form as Ian MacDonald makes good on his threat to attack the Campbells and Katie learns that the bond between brothers and love knows no bounds.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Reading Challenges---Do You Do Them?

I've been doing the Reading Challenge on Goodreads for a long time. I love challenging myself to stretch and read a few more books than I was planning. I know some people feel like it's overwhelming, though. 

Do you do yearly reading challenges?

This year I challenged myself to read 121 books. I'm excited! I totally think I can do it. If you are doing a challenge, how many books are you going to read?

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

My Character Inspiration

A lot of times when I'm writing, I look for actors and actresses that sort of look like or have a characteristic of the men and women I'm writing about. It helps me to have that picture in my head when I'm fleshing out the story. 

For Second Chance, I settled on Barrett Foa as my Augie and Marie Avgeropoulous as Rian. I was going for adorable computer tech and a mysterious Libyan information broker. I love how much their eyes can say without any words being spoken. 

Second Chance comes out next month and I can't wait to hear what you think of it! And if you think Marie and Barrett were perfect for the role. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Free Romantic Comedy Today Only!

If you are in the mood for a romantic comedy, Her Last First Date, by Brenna Jacobs is free today! I haven't read this one, but it looks cute.

Get your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

Is Zoey too much of a disaster for even TV's hottest handyman to fix?

When Zoey returns home to California to live with her ailing grandmother, she's less than enthusiastic when Nana tries to set her up with Harry, the handyman who's been helping her out around the house for years. But then she discovers Harry the handyman is actually Harrison Beckford, the handsome host of the hottest home renovation show on television.

To Zoey, Harry seems too good to be true. He's got the job, the house, the dog, even two adorable kids who Zoey quickly falls in love with. But as she gets swept up in Harrison's glamorous life, Zoey starts to let go of things that have always mattered to her in the past. Her career. Her friends. Soon she starts to wonder: Will fitting into Harrison's life require too much renovation of her own, or will the two of them be able to build something amazing together?

Monday, January 4, 2021

A Little Taste of Heaven to Help Me Write

My mom sent me some Canadian goodness. So, so yummy! I wish I could share with you all. This little bit of heaven is fueling the writing today, however, and I am in the middle of a GREAT scene!

I'm going to have some fun announcements coming up and I can't wait to share them with you. I hope your new year is off to a great start. How has your first Monday of 2021 been?

Friday, January 1, 2021