Saturday, June 22, 2019

Spotlight + #GIVEAWAY: Love's Truest Hope



About the Book

Book: Love’s Truest Hope  
Author: Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, Mary Alford  
Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish  
Release date: May 28, 2019    

Mission of Love

A nontraditional Amish man called to minister to the inner-city youth. An overwhelmed Amish woman terrified of the idea. When lies and manipulators threaten to destroy her life, she’s forced outside her comfort zone. Will she learn that God’s love spreads to more than just her people?  

Plain Redemption

Spring is a long way in coming to the Big Sky country of Montana, and Lyddie Hershberger is still living in the winter of her life. First her husband died a little more than a year earlier, then Lyddie lost their unborn child. Now, an accident sends her father-in-law to the hospital clinging to his life. Will the gloom of winter ever leave their West Kootenai community?

When word of his daed’s accident reaches Thomas Hershberger in Colorado, he rushes home to find all his old sins waiting for him there, along with the woman who destroyed his heart. His brother’s widow, Lyddie Hershberger. After someone breaks into the family home while Thomas and Lyddie are at the hospital, it soon becomes apparent that his father’s accident is anything but.

As Lyddie and Thomas struggle to understand why someone wishes their family harm, old feelings of love resurface. Is it possible for Thomas to overcome the guilt he feels for his part in his brother’s death and convince Lyddie that their love can melt any heartache standing in their way?  

Bid for Love

The top bidder in the Amish silent auction wins a day of yardwork from Marty and two of his friends. But why did this wealthy Englischer pay so much money when she has a professional lawn service? Marty is shocked to when she offers him money to turn her granddaughter Amish. He refuses, but when Olivia and her grandmother both end up missing, Marty is fingered for the crime. How can he ever prove his innocence when all the clues the police find point to his guilt?   Grab your copy here.  


About the Authors



Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with thirty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs. Her most recent series is set in Mackinac County, Michigan, and includes Firestorm, The Amish Candymaker, and Married to a Stranger (July 2019). Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
 



Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The bestselling author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farms and attending family events. Rachel has more than 40 books in print or forthcoming for both children and adults under several pen names.



Mary Alford is a bestselling author of over fifteen novels who loves giving her readers the unexpected. Combining unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots that test their faith and result in novels the reader doesn’t want to put down.  


Giveaway



To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit is giving away a grand prize of an eBook copy of Love’s Truest Hope and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.



Blog Stops

Friday, June 21, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher



Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Cross My Heart  
Series: Legacy of Faith #2 
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher  
Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
Release Date: June 25, 2019  
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Split Timeline

Can two broken paths lead toward God’s redemption?

When Ashley Showalter and Ben Henning meet on Ashley’s horse rescue farm, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Both were raised by single moms. Both want to help where they see a need. And both work with horses in the Boise valley. Ben needs Ashley’s help and expertise after starting an equine therapy barn on his great-great-grandfather’s farm—and the more time they spend together, both Ashley and Ben have the feeling that there could be something more between them.

They also carry the burden of past experiences that may drive them apart if the truth is ever revealed. Ben is a recovering alcoholic with five years of sobriety behind him, while Ashley’s brother is an opioid addict residing in court-ordered rehab. Holding fast to the belief that addicts can never be cured, Ashley has promised herself she will never walk knowingly into the chaos created by addiction. Ben knows that with God, all things are possible—but will Ashley find it within herself to give love a chance? Or will her brother’s mistakes and the pain of her past jeopardize her future with Ben?

Cross My Heart threads together a contemporary love story with the heartwarming tale of Ben’s great-great-grandfather, Andrew Henning—reminding us that God’s Word is timeless and that His promises are new every morning.


PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | ChristianBook



MY THOUGHTS

There’s just something special about the writing of Robin Lee Hatcher, and Cross My Heart continues the trend of spiritually uplifting stories with rich, complex characterization and emotional depth. This story of addiction, grace and redemption moves at a steady pace that allowed me to be enveloped in the rural Idaho setting and life of Ben and Ashley, as well as Andrew and Helen of generations past. Although number 2 in the series, this story easily stands alone.

Hatcher excels at crafting stories that entertain while conveying a relevancy through situations and struggles that connects with all readers in some way. Ben is a recovering alcoholic who knows the grace of God firsthand, resulting in a peace, steadiness, and certainty of purpose. Ashley has been touched by addiction through her brother and is understandably guarded, trying to “fix” or control everything in her life by herself. The physical, emotional and spiritual connection between these two propels the storyline in a most satisfying way.

Horses make great heroes and the field of equine therapy – broken horses helping broken people – is fascinating. Ben’s response to Ashley’s question as to why he wanted to open an equine therapy barn simply conveys it all … “The short answer to your question is God told me that’s what I’m supposed to do with the farm. Make it a place where spirits get healed and hope gets restored through the use of horses.”

Faith themes are a natural part of the story, just as they should be. The “Legacy of Faith” series title is reflective of the overarching theme of a legacy of faith, exemplified in Andrew Henning’s Bible. The story of Andrew and Helen Henning in the 1940s during World War II is continued as two sons enter into the fighting, and his sustaining faith is shared when the current possessor of his heirloom Bible feels spiritually led to pass it on to another family member.

Whether it be with animals or humans, rescue, healing, recovery, and the gaining/giving of trust is a slow process, and I appreciated how the reality of this process is conveyed. Cross My Heart is a wonderfully engaging story of forgiveness, healing, second chances, letting go of and not being defined by our past. I really can’t say enough good things about this story.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Robin Lee Hatcher 

Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of 80 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love.

Her numerous awards include the RITA® Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. Robin is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America®.

When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. Robin makes her home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

CONNECT WITH ROBIN:  Website | Facebook  | Twitter



TOUR GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive Book 1 & 2 of Robin Lee Hatcher's LEGACY OF FAITH series (US only) - Who I Am With You & Cross My Heart

Copy the following phrase to claim your bonus entries for this stop:

"The Lord is enthroned as King forever" (Psalm 29:10) 

Giveaway_CrossMyHeart_JR

Each host on the tour (excluding the launch pages) has a "timeless" verse or phrase for you to enter on the Rafflecopter form for bonus entries!

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 21, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on June 28, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

 

 
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Review + GIVEAWAY: The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma



About the Book

Book: The Pink Bonnet  
Author: Liz Tolsma  
Genre: Christian Historical, Suspense  
Release date: June, 2019  

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child  

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime 

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives. 

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

Click here to purchase your copy.


My Thoughts


Liz Tolsma has written an impressive novel in the True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime series. I have read some, but not all, of Tolsma’s previous books because they have dealt with the Holocaust. While she is an excellent writer and handles that subject in a compelling way, I just have a hard time reading stories in that setting, so I was excited to try this one. Although still not a subject easy to read about, Tolsma has written a fascinating story that combines fiction with real-life events. I was engaged emotionally from page one of this action-packed story and could hardly put it down.

The Pink Bonnet reads like a wonderful suspense thriller, until it sinks in that it is based on historical true crime – the story of Georgia Tann, who ran a Memphis adoption agency from 1924 to 1950; then it becomes chilling and haunting. Children she perceived to be from inadequate homes or parenting situations were literally stolen and given to families who could pay well. Even those who were supposed to care – politicians and others in authoritative positions – were corrupt and easily bribed to turn a blind eye. That this could go on for 25 years is horrifying.

Into this backdrop we meet Cecile Dowd, a young widow with the odds stacked against her, struggling to care for her three- year-old daughter Millie. Cecile is a loving mother and making things work out, when suddenly she is betrayed by a “concerned” neighbor and Millie falls into the hands of Georgia Tann. Cecile and Millie are characters every reader will be drawn to, so easy to connect with. And then there’s Percy, a lawyer working with Tann, who begins to suspect that all is not right with this adoption agency. I loved the connection between Cecile and Percy, a sweet and growing relationship in an otherwise dark story. I also appreciated the spiritual overtones of God’s unrelenting seeking for us.

The Pink Bonnet is a riveting, suspense-filled story that drove me to do some online research into this crime. I look forward to much more of Liz Tolsma’s writing.

Recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
 

About the Author

  
      Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. 
      An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. 
     When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.


More from Liz

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series. 

In book two, The Pink Bonnet, Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives. 

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child? Find out in The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma. 

The True Crime Behind the Story 

Georgia Tann was a woman who ran an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1924 until 1950. It is estimated that, in that time, she kidnapped over five thousand children and sold them to the highest bidder. She even advertised the children in the newspaper, especially around the holidays. Some of the nation’s biggest celebrities adopted through Miss Tann, including Joan Crawford, Dick Powell, and June Allyson. Learn more about Georgia Tann HERE and visit www.TrueColorsCrime.com for more exclusive content.


Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Pink Bonnet!! 

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.



Blog Stops

The Becca Files, June 20
Livin’ Lit, June 20
Mary Hake, June 23
Moments, June 24
Remembrancy, June 26
Emily Yager, June 26
Genesis 5020, June 27
Changed by Him, June 28
Bigreadersite, June 28
Pause for Tales, June 29
Hallie Reads, June 30
By The Book, July 2
amandainpa, July 3

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Died in the Wool by Melinda Mullet




Died in the Wool
By Melinda Mullet
A Whisky Business Mystery #4
Alibi, 2019


Summary

No good deed goes unpunished in the Whisky Business cozy mystery series as distillery owner Abigail Logan uncovers dark secrets—and murder—at a local charity.

Photojournalist Abi Logan is finally ready to put her hectic career on hold and set down roots in the heart of the Scottish countryside. Studying the business and art of distilling whisky at Abbey Glen and volunteering at the Shepherd’s Rest women’s shelter in her spare time seem a surefire way to find the peace and stability she craves. It’s also the logical way to take her mind off her personal life. Abi’s business partner, Grant MacEwan, is facing a career-threatening disability, and as much as Abi longs to be there for him, he seems to prefer the company of a rival.

But as Abi becomes more involved with Shepherd’s Rest, she discovers that their refuge is elusive. When the shelter is rocked by a murder/suicide, Abi is outraged by the police’s lack of attention to these already marginalized women. Increasingly confident in her own skills as an investigator, Abi steps in to find out what the police will not: who left one young woman dead and another missing. But when more deadly deeds come to light, Abi must race to unravel the connections between the shelter’s benefactors and the women they have pledged to protect—and expose the killer before he strikes again.

Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately. Enjoy responsibly:


SINGLE MALT MURDER | DEATH DISTILLED | DEADLY DRAM 
DIED IN THE WOOL

Amazon  B&N    Kobo   Google Play


My thoughts

This cozy mystery series by Melinda Mullet is quickly becoming one of my very favorites and Died in the Wool is the best story yet. All four books are wonderful, but I had a special connection with this one.

First of all, what’s not to love about a Scottish setting? Whether it’s the city of Edinburgh or rural setting of Abbey Glen, the author conveys the atmospheric setting beautifully. Secondly, don’t be turned off by the fact that this series is about a family whisky business because it’s so much more. “Rich” is how I would describe this story – rich in characterization and complexity of storyline.

Each story stands alone, but reading in order gives a much more satisfying experience because you gain a familiarity with the series characters and their growth. Grant is back, struggling with an injury from the end of the previous novel that threatens the very essence of his work as Abigail’s business partner. Abi begins to realize the depth of her feelings for Grant, but is it merely because of another woman’s presence?


With her photojournalist background and caring nature for those in need, Abi is a strong, compelling and oh-so-appealing lead character. And I love her collection of 20 Cheviot sheep that she rescued from the slaughterhouse! “Everyone finds their own Zen. Mine walked on four hooves and bleated.” The sheep are actually the driving force in this story, because their need to be sheared leads Abi to Amanda’s knitwear shop, where half of her profits help fund the Shepherd’s Rest, a retreat for abused women. She soon becomes a board member, surrounded by people whose passion should be in helping these women, but all is not as it seems – especially when murder rears its ugly head.

Died in the Wool had a strong emotional connection for me and I cannot say enough good things about it. There’s a poignancy and complexity to both characters and mystery storyline, making it hard to put down, yet not wanting the story to end at the same time. Died in the Wool, as well as the whole series, is an outstanding novel that is a cut above other stories in this genre.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


_________________________




       Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer.
       Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.



_________________________


GIVEAWAY


Monday, June 17, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Hometown Hope by Laurel Blount



Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Hometown Hope by Laurel Blount, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Title: Hometown Hope 
Author: Laurel Blount  
Publisher: Love Inspired 
Release Date: June 18, 2019 (print), July 1, 2019 (ebook)  
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

He’ll do anything for his daughter…

Even fight to regain an old classmate’s broken trust.

In the three years since her mother’s death, widower Hoyt Bradley’s daughter, Jess, hasn’t spoken—until she suddenly begs him to save her favorite bookstore from closing.

Hoyt is desperate to hear his daughter’s voice again, but he and the bookstore’s pretty owner, Anna Delaney, share a less-than-friendly past.

Working together is complicated enough…but can they avoid falling in love?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | ChristianBook



MY THOUGHTS

There’s so much to like in Hometown Hope by Laurel Blount! Sometimes a Love Inspired story is exactly what I’m looking for, and Hometown Hope is a gem in this line of books. Setting, characters and romance all blend together in a thoroughly enjoyable read.

First of all, setting adds a special touch because the author vividly conveys Pine Valley, a small town located in middle Georgia, probably not far from where I live. The main characters feel real, like people I could meet every day, and I cared about them from the very beginning. The story also engaged my emotions, keeping me eager to turn the pages. There’s some predictability, which didn’t hinder my enjoyment, and also a little of the unexpected.

While most covers feature one or both of the lead characters, I love that Hometown Hope reflects two important themes – a young girl with selective mutism, and books! Anna and Hoyt’s current uncomfortable relationship is interesting because it’s the result of a high school relationship that didn’t end well. Lack of communication and sensitivity were a big part of the problem, and Hoyt’s words to Anna were so insightful … “I’m afraid you’ve always read books far better than you read people.” Both share the bond of loss in their lives and I loved the chemistry between them, as well as watching their feelings and understanding grow.

Then there’s sweet Jess who’s the heart of the story, Hoyt’s daughter who hasn’t spoken since her mother died three years earlier. I found aspects of selective mutism informative, such as how, once Jess began speaking, it was only to her dad. And all of us who love books will be fascinated by how Anna’s bookstore, in danger of closing, was the key to Jess beginning to open up.

Spiritual nuggets are gently woven throughout, such as forgiveness and letting go of the past. I also loved the spiritual insight in these words spoken by Anna’s former teacher, Mrs. Abercrombie … “We teachers plant seeds, you know. Hundreds of them. Some take longer to germinate than others, that’s all. But it’s never too late to learn something new.”

Previous characters from Pine Valley books make appearances, but Hometown Hope stands alone. I enjoyed this feel-good story very much and am eager to read all that Laurel Blount writes.

Recommended.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

Laurel Blount lives on a small farm in middle Georgia with her husband, their four children, a milk cow, dairy goats, assorted chickens and ducks, four spoiled cats and one bossy goose with serious boundary issues. She divides her time between farm chores, baking, homeschooling and writing. She's busy, but she's never bored!  

HOMETOWN HOPE is Laurel’s third Love Inspired romance. Her debut Love Inspired novel A FAMILY FOR THE FARMER was the recipient of the 2017 Maggie Award for Excellence in the Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements category. This book also received two 2017 Holt Awards of Merit and was a finalist in the 2017 Carol Awards. A BABY FOR THE MINISTER, her second Love Inspired, was released in September of 2018.

Whenever she's not working, you can find Laurel with a cup of tea at her elbow, a cat in her lap and a good book in her hand. She loves to hear from readers! Drop her an email at laurelblountwrites@gmail.com or visit her website: www.laurelblountbooks.com and be sure to sign up for her monthly newsletter!  

CONNECT WITH LAUREL: Website | Facebook | Twitter



TOUR GIVEAWAY

 


(1) winner will receive an autographed copy of Hometown Hope, a $10 Starbucks gift card, a travel coffee mug, and a bar of Milltown soap--which is produced in author's hometown (Dough bowl is not included.)

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 17, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on June 24, 2019. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


 
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer



About the Book

Book: More Than Words Can Say  
Author: Karen Witemeyer  
Genre: Historical Romance  
Release Date: May 7, 2019

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples. 

Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him. 

Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

Click here to purchase your copy.


My thoughts


I haven’t yet read the first book in this series, More Than Meets the Eye, but I’m already in love with Karen Witemeyer’s Patchwork Family series. For fans of historical romance, there’s everything to like in Witemeyer’s new release, More Than Words Can Say. It’s been a while since I’ve read one of her books, and this story reminds me of why I enjoy them so much. The author creates characters that I fall in love with, engages my emotions, inspires my daily faith walk, and makes me laugh.

Choosing a husband was much like choosing a good baguette. One looked for a strong outer shell, a tender interior, and most importantly, a tractability of dough to hold whatever shape the baker deemed appropriate.

I adore marriage-of-convenience stories, but have to say that the story of Zacharias and Abigail is a cut above others of this type. They’re the perfect counterpart for each other, exactly what was missing in their lives. And rather than fighting all the time, their relationship begins with witty flirtatious moments on top of sincere commitment. 

Abigail is a strong and independent businesswoman, frustrated by and determined not to be overcome by the town’s archaic law forbidding women to own businesses with city limits. Zacharias is a tender protector with a heart bigger than Texas. Strong on the outside, tender on the inside, definitely. But easily moldable? Don’t count on it! The chemistry between these two is wonderful.

Spiritual themes are seamlessly woven throughout – themes like God’s providence, forgiveness and healing. I loved everything about More Than Words Can Say and look forward to much more from the talented Karen Witemeyer.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and Bethany House. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author




Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.


More from Karen

Settings – Real or Imagined?

One of the key decisions an author has to make before she begins to write is selecting the setting for her story. And the first choice she faces is the question of whether to use a real or imagined location. Roughly half the stories I have written are set in fictional towns. The use of a fictional setting allows an author greater freedom to manipulate the environment of her characters to fit her plot. This provides a great deal of flexibility. 

However, there is something special about setting a story in a real place. First, readers who are familiar with that place never fail to get excited about seeing a town they recognize in print. Second, if an author can find historical photos and documents, she can add a wonderful layer of authenticity to her setting that might otherwise be missing. Third, an author may turn up fascinating tidbits when studying the history of her setting that find their way into the story and bring a flavor the author never could have supplied on her own. 

This was the case as I wrote More Than Words Can Say. All of the stories in my Patchwork Family series have been set in real places. Pecan Gap, Texas for More Than Meets the Eye, Honey Grove, Texas for More Than Words Can Say, and coming this fall we’ll travel to Gainesville, Texas for the concluding novella, More Than a Pretty Face. 

Researching each location brought its own unique discoveries, but I have to admit that researching the small town of Honey Grove brought this history-loving girl a special level of joy. For example, there is a legend about how the town got its name that I knew needed to be incorporated into my story. Legend has it that when Davy Crockett was on his way to join the fight at the Alamo, he stopped in a grove of trees and set up camp. There were so many bees in that in letters to family and friends, he called the place a “Honey Grove.” He carved his initials into one of the trees and intended to return and settle there after the war. Unfortunately, as we know, Crockett did not survive the Alamo and therefore did not return. One of his friends, Samuel A. Erwin, later found the grove and became the first settler in 1839. Many people recall seeing the initials carved into Crockett’s bee tree even into the early 1900s, which led me to believe that this legend was based in truth. It doesn’t play a pivotal role in my story, but if you watch for it, you’ll find it mentioned. 

Discovering the Honey Grove Preservation League’s website proved a tremendous boon. Their online historical resources are some of the best I have ever come across. Historical photos, newspaper articles, government records—it was like stepping through a time portal every time I visited. And I visited often. Thanks to the Preservation League, I was able to mention real people and places in my novel. Places like the Commercial Hotel, the home of James Gilmer that was built during my time period, Wilkins, Wood & Patteson Dry Goods, and Dora Galbraith Patteson’s millinery shop on the east side of the town square. While Zacharias Hamilton and Reuben Sinclair are completely fictitious characters, there really was a lumberyard located on the corner of Sixth Street and Rail Road. 

As fiction authors are wont to do, I did take a few liberties with Honey Grove’s history. To my knowledge, there was never any city ordinance banning women from owning businesses in town, which was a key plot point in More Than Words Can Say. In addition, Mayor Chester Longfellow was a complete invention of my imagination. The true mayor of Honey Grove during this time period was J.H. Smith, a man who served in that capacity from 1888-1897. He must have been a well-loved city official to hold office for nearly a decade. I paid brief homage to him by having him step back into office when my fictitious mayor resigned. 

I hope you enjoy stepping back in time with me into historic Honey Grove, Texas. Zach and Abigail might not have lived there in truth, but I like to believe their tale is a representation of the many amazing love stories have taken place in that sweet little town through the years.


Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a grand prize that includes More Than Words Can Say, More Than Meets the Eye, and a $20 Panera Bread gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.




Blog Stops


Baker kella, June 16
EmpowerMoms, June 16
Genesis 5020, June 17
Bigreadersite , June 17
Among the Reads, June 18
C Jane Read, June 19
Mary Hake, June 19
Hallie Reads, June 19
Splashes of Joy, June 21
Pause for Tales, June 21
Worthy2Read, June 22
Vicky Sluiter, June 23
Wishful Endings, June 24
Simple Harvest Reads, June 24 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
amandainpa , June 25
Quiet Quilter, June 26
Emily Yager, June 28
Lukewarm Tea, June 28
By The Book, June 28
The Becca Files, June 28




https://promosimple.com/ps/e4f4/more-than-words-can-say-celebration-tour-giveaway