Posts Tagged ‘Release Day Event’



Millie Morelle married her cowboy, Zeke, expecting only happiness ever after.

She was young and beautiful, he was strong and hard-working. How could their future be anything but wonderful?
Each had dreams to last a lifetime . . . but after fifteen years of heartbreaking disappointments, their goals seem to lie in opposite directions. They may share a home and a passel of kids, but they’re living separate lives, and no one is happy. Why did they ever fall in love in the first place?
Reaching a point of desperation, each makes choices for survival—choices that may destroy the very things they’re trying to save.

Will they be able to salvage, separately, something that can only be built together—a love that is stronger than mountains?


Chapter 1

Slim Pickens Ranch,

Moreno Valley, New Mexico


Eyes wide, fingers rigid, Millie Pickens clutched the quilt below her chin, listening. The sound that awakened her was now lost on the other side of the boundary between sleep and consciousness. She exhaled soundlessly, her breath forming a cloud in the lean-to.

A faint pink glow tinged the frost on the windowpanes. She lay quiet, listening, drinking in the silence as her heartbeat returned to its normal rhythm. The few precious moments of peace before the late winter sunrise were almost enough to make its bitter cold worth enduring.

Zeke lay still beside her, jaw lax, mouth agape. Millie stretched her toes closer to his sleeping form, soaking in the warmth that radiated from his body. Most days he was up before the sun, but for a few weeks each year before calving season there was a blessed respite. Feathers rustled beneath her ear as she turned her head to study his profile in the pale light.

Despite the stubble he was still a handsome man, though the years had left their mark. His face had lost its boyish eagerness in exchange for a few wrinkles. The creases gave him character, but she missed the lopsided grin he always wore when they were young. One teasing glance—one wink—used to make her knees go wobbly. The twinkle in his eye explained the four young ‘uns asleep in the loft . . . and the four young ‘uns explained her gratitude for this moment of peace.

There should have been two more, but maybe the Lord knew she had all she could handle. The four she had would be up soon enough, clamoring for breakfast. Then their needs along with the duties of home and farm would claim pieces of her all day long until she collapsed onto the straw tick again tonight. She loved them, but mothering was like being nipped to death by tadpoles.

rem:   Hullo Lynn, Congrats on your new book! Love this pic of you! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

LYNN:   Right now! I love history, and I love “time traveling” through reading, but I firmly believe that God placed me right here and right now “for such a time as this.” Besides, in any number of centuries or decades, I’d have long since died of many illnesses or accidents that are now completely preventable or treatable!

rem:   Ooh! One of my foundation Scriptures! Where did you find this story idea?

LYNN:   While I was writing More Precious Than Gold, Millie kept trying to take over! She’s was a giddy, talkative little thing who used to drive the sober-minded, quiet heroine of that first story crazy. But Eliza (the heroine of Book 1) and I both began to see that Millie ran deeper than she appeared at first meeting.

rem:   Millie is kinda that way, ain’t she? Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

LYNN:   Definitely Zeke! I loved him in More Precious Than Gold. He was happy-go-lucky, head-over-heels in love, and easy-to-get-along-with. Then after 15 years of marriage, several babies, and some serious threats to his career he started acting like he couldn’t remember why he ever got married in the first place. It was hard to write the “ugly” side of loveable Zeke and make that part of him believable. To do that, I had to find out why he was so stressed out…what he was afraid of. The result, though, was a very complex and relatable character.

rem:   It was hard to read too, but I appreciate him more for it; he’s more believable. What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

LYNN:   I usually start my writing day over breakfast, which is almost always a cup of cinnamon/raisin granola with yogurt and a cup of coffee. After that, though, I’m pretty much “into it” for the day and often forget to eat anything for lunch.

rem:   So healthy! What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

LYNN:   I celebrate! Make a big announcement on Facebook and then take my family out to dinner. 🙂

rem:  And all of us in FB land are glad you do! Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with us today, Lynn! (looking forward to yournext book in the Sangre de Cristo series!)


Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

Fast forward more years than I’ll admit to. Children grown. House quiet. Finally more time to get serious about writing for publication, and what an exciting time to write!

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.


The [flood] water was up the shank of Jake’s boots by the time he followed [the horses] out of the barn and into the deep gray light of morning.

An orange glow marked the cabin window. He headed for that.

Across the porch.

Through the front door.

House empty? He poked his head up the ladder. Checked the lean-to. A sick feeling gripped his gut as the dim light of the fire showed him the stacks of furs and smoked meats.

No good to a dead man.


Jake felt his heart tear through his chest. He’d lost one son. He was not about to lose another.


Specters of all the could go wrong on a trail drive spiraled from the well of her imagination like bats swarming from a dark cave.


“Maybe, though often it’s not so much a matter of saying the right thing as it is keeping out of God’s way while He’s whispering to them.”


…The mountains speak to me…” He tapped his fist to his chest, over where his heart rested. “…in here, telling me that as grand and impressive as they are, the blessing of God is stronger still.”


1 – This book took me a loooong time to write! In some ways, all the “life” that happened between Book 1 and Book 2 in this series became a real-life blooper…but in the end I think it made the story better.

2 – Not a blooper, exactly, but I’m always amazed at the way my characters take on lives of their own during the process of writing. For example, I knew that Zeke and Millie were from the Deep South (East Texas and Louisiana, specifically), but I was surprised to find out that they’d named all their children after Confederate generals. (More about that in the Quotes section.)

3 – On that same note, I had a name in mind for Millie’s “surprise blessing”, but it took a little research to come up with a fifth general whose name would work as a child’s given name. Then, when I was typing up that scene, I was surprised to find out that Millie had actually come up with TWO names for the baby–a first AND a middle name, both Confederate generals.

4 – Millie also “grew up” during the five years it took me to write the story. In her earlier days, she would have torn into Zeke and given him the sharp edge of her tongue, but as the story took shape I was surprised to find she’d mellowed and learned restraint as she began to understand her husband’s “baggage.”

5 – Perhaps the biggest “blooper” was the change of cover. I had a working cover with a model I just loved. She was “Millie” in my mind for all the years I was working on this story. But styles and expectations for Indie covers changed over the years. After much prayer and saving up, I decided to have the covers for all the books in this series updated so they’d look more like a set…and the photos I’d originally loved couldn’t be made to work in the new format. I’ll share it with you here, though, so you can see my beautiful friend, Cassandra, who will always be “Millie” in my mind.


  1. Stronger Than Mountains, the sequel to More Precious Than Gold, is the second of three books in the Sangre de Cristo series.
  2. The Sangre de Cristos are a mountain range in northeastern New Mexico.
  3. “Sangre de Cristo” means “blood of Christ”—a very convenient coincidence for an inspirational history series! 🙂
  4. The series is set in and around Elizabethtown, New Mexico–a thriving boom town that sprang up when gold was discovered in the Moreno Valley in 1867.
  5. Author Lynn Dean’s first professional work was a Texas History curriculum, Discover Texas, produced since 1999 for use in private and parochial schools.
  6. Though Stronger Than Mountains takes place entirely in New Mexico, the idea for the series originated with several historical events the author discovered while researching for Discover Texas. These real-life characters and events, which took place shortly after the end of the Civil War, are woven into the experience of a fictional heroine who survived them all and headed West to escape her grief…only to run headlong into the man who caused it!
  7. Like More Precious Than Gold, Stronger Than Mountains incorporates real-life characters and events—namely the Colfax County Land Wars—and a fictional couple who must find a way to survive intact from their struggle.
  8. Life was considerably harder and more risky in 1885! Average life expectancy was 40-47 years.
  9. As many as 1 in 4 women in the 19th century died in childbirth. When you consider that women typically had more children then than now, it puts the risk of motherhood into perspective!
  10. Elizabethtown, New Mexico, is now a ghost town. Little remains besides a few adobe walls, a cemetery, and some artifacts in a museum. My family has skied in nearby Red River for two generations. (Angel Fire and Taos are also close.) I was always fascinated by the ruins of Elizabethtown and the cultural history of this region, and used to imagine what it would have been like to live there in its heyday. These books are, perhaps, my way of bringing the old town back to life.


Life has a way of maturing us. Taking the temperament of our youth and turning it into sour grapes—or abiding strength.


Millie Morelle was a saucy strong willed girl when she rolled into Zeke Perkins’ life. Pretty thing, too, and she caught his eye.

Zeke was a strapping young cowboy—and fine looking too—who quickly won Millie’s heart. They started their life together full of hope and promises.


But life tossed them one hard ball after another and they each fought to survive the best they knew how. Would their differences tear them apart? Or rebuild what they once started and make them stronger?



Ms. Dean joins fiction and history together to tell a compelling story. Life wasn’t easy in the “wild west,” on the frontier, mountain life harder still. Amenities were scarce if they existed at all and Ms. Dean’s telling of it puts the reader directly in the cold lean-to cabin and the sweltering heat of a summer cattle drive.  I cried, I railed, and I rooted for the characters as life and nature came against them. I held my breath when disaster struck and cheered as they overcame. I truly inspiring story.


I purchased this book on Amazon. I offer my review of my own volition, and the opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.


#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Release Day Event, Stronger than Mountains, Lynn Dean, Sangre de Christo Series, More Precious than Gold, Flowing like Rivers


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Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances—along with her father’s precious dye—help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.


I have never served as a soldier, yet I have the strange sense that most of my life I have stared down the blade of a sword, the face of my adversary haunting me. General Varus once told me that Roman soldiers prefer to use the singled-edged sword they call the makhaira for the killing stroke: having a short blade forces them to come close, so that as your body gives way to the thrust of that unforgiving edge, all you can see is the face of your assassin. You forget the world, you forget the ones you love, you forget hope and lose your fragile grasp on any remnant of a fight lingering in your heart. You see only the visage of your adversary.

I know what it’s like to have a makhaira at my throat. I know my enemy’s face. I know the scent of his breath, the stinging quality of his speech, the poison of his taunts. He has cut me more than once with his short sword. I know his name.

He is called Fear.

rem:   Hullo Tessa, and congratulations on your new book! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

TESSA:   Any period my hubby was in works for me. It’s the people that make the time, not time the people.

rem:   Best | answer | ever. Where did you find this story idea?

TESSA:   Bread of Angels is based on the story of Lydia, the seller of purple goods from Acts 16. When I thought about Lydia, a woman in a man’s world, a woman bearing the burdens of a lavish business with many dependents, I felt that perhaps more than anything, the weight of responsibility might have pressed her down. She either had to rely on her own gifting and strength, or learn to trust in God’s provision.


I liked this concept, because it seems to me that most of us struggle, at least to some degree, with the same choice, especially when it comes to our jobs. The work of our hands has so many complex emotional threads attached to it. We long to be useful. To make a difference. To use our gifting. Add to that the reality that in our world, our stability is attached to work. There are layers of fear running through our jobs. Layers that are, to some degree, beyond our control. We may fail, let others down, not meet expectations, harm someone in the process, and suffer financial loss. Who shall we trust with this overwhelming burden? Our own strength or God’s provision?


rem:   Oh my goodness, yes! I can’t tell you how long or how many times I felt that way with my writing! Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

TESSA:  I think I found Paul the easiest. He has left so much of himself in his letters. Lydia was the hardest for me because she was a blank canvas. A paradox of strength and fear.

rem:   And you painted quite the portrait, if I do say so. It’s what I love about Biblical fiction—especially yours! What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

TESSA:   Chocolate. If I am being good, fruit. Then chocolate.

rem:   Chocolate, always go for the chocolate. What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

TESSA:   I usually fall into bed unconscious. It seems with every novel that I am down to the wire and, toward the end, have to write late into the night. When I finish, all I can think of is sleep!


Thanks for inviting me to hang out with you and your readers, Robin!

rem:   Your blood, sweat, and tears—and shear exhaustion—pays off, and your readers appreciate every word. Thanks for taking a moment from your next story to chat with me today.


Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel, Land of Silence was voted by Library Journal as one of five top Christian Fiction titles of 2016, and nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Inspirational Romance. Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category. Her book, Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category. Her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, won her “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011. Tessa was born in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She serves on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. But that has not cured her from being addicted to chocolate. Contact Tessa at tessaafshar.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTessaAfshar/


Her father pulled Lydia sideways until she toppled into his arms. “Child, let me tell you the secret to victory in the hard life. Strive valiantly. Dare to try, knowing that you will make mistakes. You will fall short again and again, because there is no effort without error. In the end, you will either know the triumph of high achievement, or if you fail, you will fail while daring greatly. Embrace the knowledge that you will make a mistake sooner or later. Your work will have flaws—some grave, some superficial. Learn to accept this truth, and you will master your art.”


“Hope.” Eumenes gave a faint nod. “There is never so much sorrow in a life that it should become devoid of hope. Hope may grow fragile as a thread of silk; it may get stuck inside the box of your misfortunes. But it is there. Don’t misplace your hope, my sweet child, not even when all of Pandora’s monsters chase you. You must hold to that treasure after I am gone.”


The prophet’s words carried a weight that even Virgil’s prose lacked, Lydia had to admit. They contained a promise that pierced her heart like a sharpened arrow, for shame and disgrace were her constant companions…


Fear. A cruel task master.


And fear is Lydia’s constant companion. Crippling fear. Demanding fear. Hounding and haunting voice of fear.


For all Lydia’s talent and ability, she constantly dreaded the worst.


And yet, she was continually blessed with favor and miracles.


As a woman in Biblical times, Lydia’s options were nonexistent; women were totally dependent on men. And yet, her life unfolded and prospered in spite of such restrictions. Born in a pagan society, Lydia was drawn into faith until hope collided with her old nemesis, Fear.

Would faith rise to conquer fear once and for all? Will she grasp at her position of wealth and honor in a male driven society? Will she embrace the sweetness of hope that only faith can bring.



Bread of Angels is a perfect example of why Biblical Fiction is my favorite genre; characters whose names are etched in faith-memory now have a story, a history. Ms. Afshar writes with precision and skill, dying a story to the perfect hue of the culture of the time. The Bible doesn’t speak to Lydia’s childhood or her struggles as a merchant, but Ms. Afshar has woven a beautiful story that could very well be pages of history.




#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Release Day Event, Bread of Angels, Tessa Afshar


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Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.

Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage–for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?

“This one’s alive.” The declaration seemed to come from far away, as if floating high above me,

the familiar language weighted with a foreign accent.

“Finish it,” yelled another disembodied voice. “We are to leave no man breathing.”

My eyes closed and I drew a deep breath, a shuddering inhale that would be my last. The enemy

sword would cleave the last of the life from my body, and I could sleep, fly to the gods, if they

deigned to receive one who had shunned them.

Nothing came. No sword. No end. I opened my eyes and a blood-spattered, bearded face

hovered over me with a confused expression. Soundless words formed on his lips. A woman?

My helmet was gone and my braid free. There was no escaping the fate that would now meet me

on this battlefield. My brothers, unrestrained even around their sister, had drunkenly regaled

me with stories of women in battle camps. Victors plundered women along with weapons and

supplies. Perhaps I would again lose consciousness from the pain of my wound and he would

kill me quickly after he sated his—

“Can you move?” His surprising question scattered my disturbing thoughts. The man thrust his

sword into his scabbard, pushed the dead men off my legs and body, and knelt beside me.

Cinnamon-brown eyes, full of conflict, met mine. A thick ragged beard covered his face and met

long, brown hair streaked with gold from the sun.

In my confusion and haze, I could not answer. Why was he waiting? Was he drawing out the

terror? Even if I could reach the dagger at my belt with my useless arm, there was no strength

left in me to fight.

He looked around, as if searching out someone to aid him. But instead of calling out for another

enemy to help slaughter me, he checked me for weapons and, finding my dagger, relieved me of

my last defense. “Rather not have that jammed between my ribs,” he muttered.

Then, in a baffling move, he slipped a small skin-bag from his shoulder and held it to my

parched lips. An explosion of cool, clean water poured into my mouth. I choked and coughed.

He placed a hand behind my good shoulder and lifted me, guiding me into a sitting position.

“Here, drink.”

With only a brief pause to consider his intentions, I lifted my mouth to the spout and guzzled.

The sweetest mountain-fresh water I had ever tasted doused the burn in my throat, stirring a

spark of life, of unwelcome hope, into my desiccated body.

“That arrow is in deep.” He examined my back but did not touch the wound. “I’ll find a healer.”

Why would this enemy, one whose face was streaked and speckled with the blood of my

countrymen, take me to a healer? He checked my other limbs and, satisfied that I was able,

helped me stand. A spasm of searing pain spiked down my arm and across my chest. The world

swayed and tilted. My knees collapsed. I was locked in his arms for a moment before blackness

engulfed me again.”

rem: Hullo, Conni, and congratulations on your new book! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

CONNILYN: I’d probably be most interested in experiencing the early days of America, to see

the world of our founding fathers and see this beautiful country in its more original, pristine

state. Although I’m perfectly content with my coffee maker, my laptop and my wifi, so I’ll stay

here in 2017.

rem: I hear ya, I’d love to visit all kinds of different times and places—but give me my hear and now for home! Where did you find this story idea?

CONNILYN: I’d been discussing Rahab with my mom, since her bible study was reading

through Joshua and we were tossing around the question of why Rahab would have hidden the

Hebrew spies in spite of the extreme danger. So without giving any spoilers… Wings of the

Wind was born.

rem: And I love your twist on it! Well done! Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

CONNILYN: Alanah was quite easy and very fun since I saw her quite clearly in my mind.

Tobiah was more difficult and I did not fully understand his character until the end of the book

and therefore had to go back to the beginning and tweak/re-write until he came to life more

fully. But I certainly came to love him along the way!

rem: I love them both and identify with Alanah a bit too well… What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

CONNILYN: I don’t really have anything that I habitually munch on during writing, but there

are times when an emergency chocolate run to the store is necessary.

rem: Yes, emergency chocolate is a must have! What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

CONNILYN: Sleep. Lots of sleep. And I read all the books that I possibly can and binge on

Netflix to recharge my brain.

rem:  All the sleep, and all the Netflix! Good options. Congrats again and thanks for popping by! (and keep writing!)


Connilyn Cossette is the author of the Out from Egypt Series with Bethany House Publishers. When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kiddos (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn is scribbling notes on scraps of paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure out-of-print history books. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in Texas where she loves the people but misses mountains, tall trees and barefoot-soft green grass. There is not much she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into fiction. Connect with her at http://www.ConnilynCossette.com

  • “Days of trudging through the desert to meet the army in this valley had wreaked havoc on my body. Wounded skin flamed and throbbed where my sandals had stripped my heels and ankles raw during the long walk across blazing sand and stone. I closed my eyes and breathed steady, imagining the pain lessened with every slow exhale.”
  • “Something raw—an edge I’d never examined—began to throb. The dull ache in my chest dredged up whispers of questions I had never thought to ask, questions born from the sweet breath of mornings as I’d hiked through the fertile valley I loved, from the intricate structure of a purple-fringed passion flower, and from the vibrancy of a varicolored sunrise over the eastern horizon.”
  • “But Tobiah did not look at me the way they had. The way he’d touched me did not make me wish I were invisible, or cause me to curl up inside, wishing for death. Instead, I’d had to close my eyes to restrain the swell of hope that surged upward and clean my fists against the force of desire to make the too-small gap between us vanish.”
  • “Turning my back to the myths of my past, I set a quick pace. I kept the river to the east of us, as far away as possible while still keeping it in sight. Although I had no idea how we would find them, the river was my only guide toward the Hebrews.”
  • “It was our time to walk forward, to break the hold the wilderness had on us. It was time to claim Avraham’s promise.”


How many times have we gone against God and He rescued us anyway? How many times have we set our minds on the destruction—or defilement—of what He says is holy, and He saved us anyway?


Alanah is a Canaanite and she loathes the Hebrews. When she is rescued on the battleground instead of dying, by a Hebrew no less, her life course is changed.

As Yahweh speaks to her heart through the standard of His law—love—can Alanah shed a lifetime of teachings of Ba’al, shed her every notion of what a man is like and what women are worth? Can Yahweh truly use her for His purpose as He whispered to her that He would? Will Alanah ever accept the word of a man who has vowed to love and protect her and not abuse her?


Once again, Ms. Cossette has brought to life the culture of the Hebrews in the wilderness. Through Alanah, the reader is given a glimpse into the ugly and vile standards of pagan gods, and the destruction wreaked on the lives of their followers.

And yet Yahweh’s gentle hand gave wholeness to once-broken Alanah. This reviewer knows the struggle to accept love without condition, and through every page I both chastised Alanah for fleeing and felt her need to escape—felt the fear it would not last. I felt her sense of undeserving and worthlessness, so eloquently portrayed on every page and with every word.

Remarkable Tobiah, who stood by his oath to this enemy of his people, whose heart swelled with love and who refused to deny that love. I applaud Tobiah’s honor, and yearn for a man of such character. I felt the pain as his heart shattered and I walked with him through the emotions of torment, and commitment in spite of it.

Thank you, Ms. Cossette, for another story to cherish, a new depth of understanding of Yahweh’s sovereignty and the force that His Word is.



This book was given to me as a gift. I offer my review of my own volition, The opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.




#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Release Day Event, Wings of the Wind, Connilyn Cossette, Out of Egypt, Counted with the Stars, Shadow of the Storm

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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…

Asher dug a hand into his jacket pocket, hoping to find something that could be used as a weapon. Pulling out a bag of sweets he’d been sent to sample for the confectionary shop he’d recently added to his first floor, he set it on the ground and tried again. A moment later he shook his head in disgust as he looked over the contents he’d pulled out – a gentleman’s cufflink, a necktie, a bottle of cologne he’d been meaning to sample, and a powder puff one of his salesladies had handed him, trying to convince him that offering beauty products in a visible part of the store would be an enormous profit make.

He couldn’t help but think it was a sad state of affairs that he had not a single item that could be used as a weapon, unless he could get close enough to the arrow-shooting criminal to blind him by dousing him with the cologne.

rem:   Hullo Jen, and congratulations on your new book! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

JEN:  I’m perfectly content living in the present, especially since I do enjoy a more modern, and shall we say, cleaner, way of life.  However, if I could visit a time period and then come right back to my comfortable home, I’d definitely got to New York in the 1880’s.  It would be fabulous to attend one of those balls, as well as Delmonico’s.

rem:   I’m with you! I’ll stay right here—but I’ll go visit with ya (ahem) anytime! Tee hee hee Where did you find this story idea?

JENI’ve been planning on doing a book set at the Vanderbilt ball for years.  My time-line finally hit 1883, so I reached into a box I keep with different story ideas, drew out the wallflower notes, and took it from there.

rem:   Well I must say, I’m glad your timeline (ahem) lined up finally! Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

JEN:  Mr. Asher Rutherford was the easiest because I fashioned him after three friends of mine.  The Huxley sisters were the hardest because they were originally supposed to be frightening, and perhaps responsible for a few murders in the city.  They just wouldn’t cooperate with that idea, so their storyline completely changed.

rem:   Well, no, I don’t suppose someone would agree to that, even if they did do the murders! What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

JEN: I don’t snack when I’m working.  I might have a water bottle on my desk, but that’s about it.  I can’t eat candy because it gives me a headache, and since I’ve reached a certain age, well, allow me to say that if I even think about chips, my hips get wider the very next second.  If I don’t have snacks in my office, I have to go to the kitchen when I’m hungry. Now, that might not seem like a substantial hurdle, but I get a little intense when I’m working and even going to the kitchen can be a bother. It’s like a weird type of diet system.

rem:   We won’t talk about a certain age and hips. Let’s just leave it at that… What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

JEN:  I normally clean out a closet, or go shopping.  I just finished the third book in this series and this time I went shopping.  Found a delightful pair of pink sandals, was going to wear them out this weekend, but then…it snowed.

rem:   I remember you mentioned the pretty pink sandals—and the snow! You’re more than welcome to come here, it’s 80° today! Jen, thanks so much for popping by the blog and sharing about your FUN book!


Jen Turano is a USA Today Bestselling author, known for her quirky characters and amusing story lines. Her novel, After a Fashion, was a Reviewer’s Choice finalist with RT, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013, and Booklist has called her “One of the funniest voices in the inspirational genre.” When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver, CO. She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at http://www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

  • “Do not tell me I’ve been mistaken all these years and that the Go-As-You-Please Quadrille has…rules.”
  • “I’m still annoyed with you, but that’s no reason to stand idly by and allow someone to kill you.”
  • “I’m sorry, but I thought I was writing for the New York Sun, not the New York Herald.”
  • “I’ve never known anyone to strive to be predictable, Harrison. It’s boring and lacks any semblance of danger.”
  • “This is going to make a fascinating book if I live to write it.”



  1. “Behind the Scenes”- Of all the books I’ve written, this is my favorite.
  2. And why is it my favorite? Because I’m a history nerd and I added more historical settings in this book for all my fellow historical reader nerds 😊
  3. William K. Vanderbilt really did hold a fabulous costume ball in March 1883. This ball was a pivotal point in Gilded Age history because if Alva Vanderbilt had not forced Mrs. Astor to accept her into New York high society through this ball by threatening to withhold an invitation unless Mrs. Astor welcomed her into high society, the Gilded Age wouldn’t have turned nearly as scandalous.  The importance of this particular ball, and all the extravagance that went along with it, is exactly why I devoted 5 chapters to it in “Behind the Scenes.”
  4. I cannot drive on the thruway, or as most people call them, highways or interstate roads. I’m perfectly fine if someone else is driving, but if I take the wheel, it’s not pretty.
  5. I got my first job in a department store the day I turned 16 – which just happened to be Black Friday and I was put in the cosmetic department for that crazy day. I’ve loved department stores ever since.
  6. My dad wanted me to pursue a degree in medicine, but I’m extremely sensitive to smells, and…people can be smelly. I chose majoring in fashion instead.
  7. The very first book I wrote was a middle-grade fantasy I wrote with my son (he was in third grade at the time.) We named it Fanglers and…it was awful.
  8. I also wrote a contemporary romance years ago – Catching Rainbows I think I called it. I got some feedback from agents – one even called me – telling me that 160,000 words was like 90,000 too many.  I almost stopped writing completely after that phone call.
  9. Australian Cattle Dogs are my favorite breed of dogs.
  10. I met my husband in a bar in Buffalo, NY, and we got married seven months later, and have been married almost thirty years.

Confession: I, Robin E. Mason, [self-proclaimed] Queen of Snark, am embarrassed and a little bit ashamed to say that it took two chapters and the comments of a friend in the know (Carrie) to realize this book is a masterpiece of satire. Clearly this is my first read by Jen Turano. And just as clearly, it will not be my last!


That said, what a fun and entertaining story!


When a young woman of a certain age enters society, it is assumed that she will be well received and garner the attention of gentleman callers.

Some young women, however, would rather endure the dentist’s chair than attend a ball. Miss Permilia Griwold was one of those young women.

She tried, she really did, but was banished to the Wallflower Section, much to her stepmother’s dismay. But enterprising young woman that she is, Permilia made the best of an unfortunate circumstance, “penning anonymous society gossip columns.” And when Permilia overhears what is certainly not gossip but a murder plot, she takes it upon herself to warn and protect the intended murder victim, one Mr. Asher Rutherford.


But Mr. Asher Rutherford believes Miss Griswold’s claims to be false, and furthermore silly, and pays her no heed.


As Permilia continues her endeavor, and Asher realizes the truth of her claim, they are thrown together to uncover the dastardly plot. Will their affections for one another overtake their good senses? Or will romance rule the day? And is Asher killed at the hand of his nefarious nemesis?



Ms. Turano has won a new fan in this reviewer. What I first believed to be poor writing is, in fact, most excellent satire and farce. The settings are elegant and exquisitely described. The characters true and well described. The situations plausible and quite believable.

As an independent woman with a stubborn streak of my own, I fully identified with Permilia. That she is caught in an era when woman who are independent and strong willed is frowned upon is most unfortunate. But Permilia rises to the challenge, as do all independent young women with a stubborn streak.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to all by Ms. Turano.



This book was given to me as a gift. I offer my review of my own volition, The opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.



#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Release Day Event, Behind the Scenes, Jen Turano, Apart From the Crowd, At Your Request

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Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home—not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain—so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.

Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope—if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes.

Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.


Lydia huffed and settled back into her seat. The New Englander sat there looking all too confident and sure of himself. Nothing she hated more than an arrogant man. Except perhaps an arrogant rebel—so certain breaking with England was the only way. They were instead destroying the colonies with this war and murdering good men. Like her father.

She lifted a corner of the thick velvet curtains. Only two and a half blocks to go. She’d suspected Wilsby of his inclinations toward the rebels for a while now. The arrival of Daniel Reid seemed only to solidify both their guilt, and if she was wise, she could use them to her advantage. “We’ll be there soon.” Lydia dropped the folds of crimson curtain.


She met his gaze. “Why do you say that?”

He shook his head and looked to his cane. “No reason.”

“I do wish you would be more forthright, Mr. Reid, before our journey comes to an end. I can help you.”

“How, exactly?”

She gave him a knowing smile. “Before I incriminate myself, tell me truthfully that you are a Patriot.”

He studied her for a full minute or more, the methodical plod of hooves and the squeak of the axels marking the passage of time. He sighed and raised his hand. “All right. Now tell me how you plan to assist me?”

I knew it. She grinned and slid to the edge of her seat. “We have a British major billeted with us. And my sister’s husband is very loyal to the crown—an outspoken man. You would be surprised how often our table is laden with talk of military strategy and plans.” She tipped her head slightly to one side, feigning the look of innocence. The bait was laid for him. The question remained as to whether he would bite.


rem:   Hullo Angela, congratulations on your newest book baby! (and the next baby baby too) If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

ANGELA :   Live or visit? In all honesty, I would LOVE to visit the Colonial era, the Victorian era and the 1940s, but I’m pretty fond of indoor plumbing and refrigeration (the first four months of my marriage was without those and I do not take them for granted!) That and not being in the middle of a world war! Also, I acknowledge that in any other time period, before dishwashers and washing machines, I probably wouldn’t have time to write as a mom with 4 kids.

rem:   There is definitely something to be said for modern conveniences! Where did you find this story idea?

ANGELA :   I grew up watching reruns for the old Disney Swamp Fox movies. When I decided to write another Revolutionary War story, I had to give him a role. The rest of the story fell easily together from there.

rem:   As a resident of South Carolina, it’s particularly interesting to me. Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

ANGELA :   Daniel was pretty easy because he’d already been introduced in The Scarlet Coat. I knew him well. Lydia on the other had… She is a pretty complex character and I needed to work hard to make it so readers could understand her motives, pain, and to help her grow.

rem:   Yeah, well, Daniel is pretty easy to look at too….. What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

ANGELA :   Most of the time, chocolate. Any chocolate. J

rem:   Good answer! What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

ANGELA :   Eat chocolate! I also take some down time with my hubby watching movies and cuddling on the couch. And then get started on the next book!

rem:   Yes, please, readers need the next book!!


Angela K Couch is an award-winning author for her short stories, and a semi-finalist in ACFW’s 2015 Genesis Contest. Her childhood was spent listening to her father read chapters from his novels, and Angela decided young to follow his path. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. Angela lives in Alberta, Canada with her “hero” and three munchkins. Visit her at http://www.angelakcouch.com, or follow on Twitter or Facebook!

To learn more and to see her latest news, please visit:





  1. She looked at him, but only briefly. “Nothing about this war is safe.”
  2. “What is the life of an animal to the life of a man? Any man. I’m so tired of this killing. This waste of life.” ~ Daniel
  3. “’He only is the rock of my salvation: He is my defense.’” A rock. A defense. That was what she wanted. But what she needed… “’My refuge is in  ’”
  4. “Did you know that Mr. Jefferson wanted to declare freedom for all men when he wrote our Declaration of Independence from Britain? No man should be enslaved, not by a king or his neighbor.” ~ Daniel
  5. If the British had success today, perhaps she could also be done with spying, lies and all-too-confident rebels with rich brown eyes.


  1. Angela Couch is Canadian. J
  2. Has a 6, 4, and 2 year-old…and another on the way!
  3. Enjoys reading romance from any era (even contemporary) as long as it’s clean.
  4. Used to train horses for western riding.
  5. Has a second degree black belt in Hap-Ki-Do, but most recently learned some Brazilian Capoeira.
  6. Loves writing fight/action scenes.
  7. Loves writing kissing scenes, too!
  8. The Patriot and the Loyalist’s timeline was based off the actual movements of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion and his men.
  9. Any American soldiers or officers mentioned by name in the Patriot and the Loyalist are historical figures.
  10. During the revolutionary war, at least 400 Americans were shipped as prisoners to Britain.


Oh what tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.


Nothing remained. All who were dear to her had been taken, her mother, her baby brothers, her father. And now her sister. Lydia Reynolds won’t even allow her heart to embrace her infant niece lest she be taken away from her, too. With her heart securely locked away, Lydia is set on one thing—to gain passage to England where she can live her life quietly, as a loyal subject of the Crown


Daniel Reid is running from his past, from a temper. And from a broken heart. And he has no intention of letting a pretty face draw him in again.

But Lydia Reynolds has captivated him, and even as he fights against it, his heart betrays him.


Lydia’s intentions are not as they seem, though. Daniel holds no romantic interest for her. Daniel is her ticket to her freedom. But as she walks the fine like of pretense, her heart, too, betrays her. But will Lydia’s betrayal be Daniel’s death sentence? Or will she be able to unweave the web she has so carefully woven?



Ms. Couch has once again riveted my attention with a stunning story of betrayal and deceit. Of hearts betrayed and deceived. I felt Lydia’s brokenness at her losses, and her resolve to escape. And I struggled with her as her heart began to awaken. I wept with Daniel at every remembrance of what he had lost, and allowed my own heart to quicken with hope as his stirred with affection for Lydia.

Ms. Couch writes with sparkling and riveting dialogue, with compelling emotion, and brilliant descriptions that place the reader in the middle of the action.



#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Release Day Event, The Patriot and the Loyalist, Angela K. Couch, The Scarlet Coat, The Tory’s Daughter

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Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

Humor, love, mystery, cute kids, crazy families, and culture clashes make this Britallachian Romance a unique and delightful romantic comedy sprinkled with adventure.

She grinned and Wes responded with his own smile, the kind that lit his eyes. Really nice acquaintance. Eisley glanced over his shoulder and saw nothing but blue skies. Heat drained from her arms down to her fingertips. “Oh dear….”

He dipped his head close. “You ought to take a look while you’re here, or you’ll regret it.” He stood and offered his hand. “Ready?”

A hand? Was he nuts? She grabbed his whole arm, holding tightly enough to feel the muscles flex beneath his jacket. Dizziness spun a kickstart in her head, but the confidence on his face nudged her a step forward. A shaky step. Well, if someone like him believed in her, then maybe she’d survive.

The view spread all the way to the fading horizon. Lights glittered below, reflecting millions of golden stars, while rows of buildings formed an uneven patchwork of dark and light patterns below. The Thames’s fluid ‘S’ sliced through the middle, speckled with a myriad of boats and bridges.

“It’s beautiful.” She glanced over at Wes, trying to steady her gaze. A well-chiseled chin provided a good focal point. “Pete would call this a God’s-eye view.”

“Pete sounds like a smart lad.”

“Yeah, they’re all pretty smart. Emily’s type of smarts is a little tricky, though. She’s an exhibitionist.”

“What?” He offered a slight grin, the kind he displayed in his best movie, A Ransomed Gentleman, when he was guarding his laugh.

She’d replayed the final kiss scene in his movie about fifty times when it came out three months previously. If taking a year’s break from acting brought out that kind of skill, other actors could benefit from a reprieve. She pulled her attention back to the window in a dreamy daze and murmured, “She likes to run around naked.” She closed her eyes to gain her balance and take control of the heat soaring into her face. “It probably doesn’t help that she’s adorable, from bald head to bald bottom.”

Wes chuckled beside her. “Is everyone from Appalachia like you?”

Eisley’s gaze zoomed back to his. “Oh gee, I hope not.” She gave her head a little shake to dislodge the dizziness. “Other people have to make better personal choices than me, Appalachian or not. And I’m certain both of my sisters are less homicidal in heels.”

His full laugh, so free and unreserved, shocked her and settled into a double dimple on his face. A strange flutter like hummingbird wings twittered to life in her stomach. What a great sound! She had a feeling it didn’t happen as often as it should. A teeny bit of pride wiggled up her spine. There was something incredibly satisfying about bringing a smile to Christopher Wesley Harrison’s face. A huge success in her book – and that was saying something.

rem:   Hullo Pepper and Congratulations on your newest swoony, er, I mean story!  😉  If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

PEPPER:   The one I enjoy writing about the most – the early 1900s (but only if I could live in the upper class! I really like having running water and indoor plumbing)

rem:   Yeah, there is something to be said for running water and indoor plumbing! Where did you find this story idea?

PEPPER:   Well, it really found me more than me finding it. Okay, this may sound ridiculous, but I was watching an interview about Richard Armitage (Thoron Oakenshield, Guy of Gisborne, etc) regarding his lovely costume drama North and South where he plays a very dashing British hero. Anyway, he was SUCH a gentleman to watch during the interview. So polite. Kind. Funny, in a sweet way, and then, out of the blue, he said the word ‘gosh’. I know, that may not be a big deal to anyone but me, but after watching celebrity interviews where every other word needed a censor, the very fact that this elegant man used the word ‘gosh’, sent my writing brain into motion. My first internal question? What if a movie star with a tender heart had been burned by the pretension and expectation of celebrity status? What kind of woman could touch a heart who’d lost his faith in love’s authenticity?

A week or so later, I was washing dishes and staring out the window into our small backyard with the Blue Ridge Mountains painting a purplish-blue frame on the horizon. Then I closed my eyes. Into my imagination came this ginger-headed woman walking through Heathrow International Airport pulling a hot pink bag behind her…and then, she tripped and fell. That was it. That’s how I was introduced to my insecure, hilarious, romance-loving, single-mom heroine…and the perfect match for my wounded, cynical hero.

rem:   Sheesh! That’s a story in itself! And what IS it about washing dishes and getting ideas??? Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

PEPPER:   Eisley! Either Eisley or her dad, Nate Jenkins. I think they’re might be some of my personality in her which made it easy to guess what she might do/think. Most difficult? Hmm…Eleanor or Wes. At first I made Wes too perfect – so, of course, he appeared 2 dimensional. It took some rewriting to flesh out his character and make him the swoony mister you meet in the current version J

rem:   I think I speak for fans everywhere when I say we LOVE the swoony mister [we] meet in the current version.  😉 What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

PEPPER:   I’m trying to STOP munching on sweets. I really like sweet potato chips, though

rem:   With my spastic blood sugar I have to munch—but I’m trying to keep it (make it) healthy… now where are my M&M’s…. What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

PEPPER:   Hee hee…I’m not sure I recover J I’m a chronic storyteller. But, if I can convince hubs to take me out to dinner to celebrate, I’ll often do that and THEN take a few days off of writing before diving into the next adventure.

rem:    Again, I think I speak for fans everywhere when I say THANK GOODNESS for that!! That said, don’t burn out, PLEEEAZE don’t burn out! Pepper, thanks so much for taking a few minutes in the craziness of release and launch (and resisting a new story… yet) to chat with us!

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader’s Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. In December 2016, her third historical in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer – released with a 4 1/2 star review from RT and a Top Picks rating. You can get to know Pepper on her website, http://www.pepperdbasham.com, on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.




























Please welcome Pepper’s dad, Jay Williams, to today’s event. He was her inspiration for Eisley’s dad, Nate Jenkins, in Just the Way You Are.

Welcome, Jay!






What is it about the past that places a stranglehold on some of us? Why do we believe that one mistake or failure suddenly defines our future?


For Eisley Barrett the mistake was not hers nor did she fail. But that’s what The Past does, whispers destructive, devastating lies in our ear. And Eisley believed it.

Betrayal bred hurt which bred fear, leaving her crippled to any future romance, let alone a lifetime of love.


Wes Harrison suffered guilt that was not his to bear. And denied himself not only love but happiness.


When Eisley and Wes meet, there is a spark, an attraction. Will they—can they—overcome the lies they’ve believed for so long and allow love to mend the wounded places in their hearts? Or will she fly away, denying them both the chance to heal and love again?



Ms. Basham has become the Queen of Swoony, and in Just the Way You Are, she does not disappoint. Wes and Eisley face very real issues, and fight very real battles, and Ms. Basham presents them in a most readable format, drawing the reader into the story. With a natural ability to convey on the page the action and setting, the story comes alive, ebbs and flows with movement of the story.


https://promosimple.com/ps/ b3e0


#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Release Day Event, Just the Way You Are, Pepper Basham, Queen of Swoony


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