Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thanksgiving in January

I spent the first half of this week indoors. Thanks to Mother Nature, schools in the area were closed Monday and Tuesday. I read a news article that said that the state of Michigan ranked Number One in total snowfall for the month!
The last time we had a blizzard (was it only a few weeks ago?) I managed to get a lot of extra sewing and cleaning done. So I was eager to get to work. I have a book I need to get finished and submitted soon if it's going to be included in an anthology my publisher has planned. I have homework to do, papers to grade, and yes, I really do enjoy interacting with my husband once in a while. In addition, I woke up on Monday morning with a nasty cold, and on Tuesday it became a headache in addition to a cough. Needless to say, this unexpected break wasn't quite as productive as I'd hoped.
I was beginning to wonder if I'd have anything at all to blog about. It was getting pretty depressing. Then I remembered something I saw in November, where each day people would post something they were thankful for. I thought I'd take a page from the Giving Thanks people and list the things that I'm happy about this week:

Sunday: I'm thankful that my youngest grandson's croup seems to have subsided and he was back to his cheerful self.
Monday:  I'm thankful that despite the mind-boggling amounts of snow and treacherous driving conditions, my loved ones remained safe.
Tuesday: I'm thankful for the internet so that I can stay connected with the world and work from home.
Wednesday: I'm thankful for my chiropractor, who helps my body work the way it should.
Thursday: I'm thankful for the cooking talents of my hubby, so that I don't have to ever think about "What's for dinner?"

What can you be thankful for today?

Weekly goals report
Sewing: As I said, my bad cold made it difficult for me to get as much done as I'd hoped. In addition, my serger sort of broke down on Sunday night, so I wasn't able to do as much as I'd hoped. But I did manage to make a few Valentine napkins, as well as some swag bags.

Reading: I'm about halfway done reading The Smuggler Wore Silk by Alyssa Alexander. I'm loving it! When I finish I'll have to write a review.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Please Welcome Author Joanne Troppello

I am pleased to welcome fellow Astraea Press author Joanne Troppello today. Joanne is an author of inspirational and romantic suspense novels. She and her husband are Network Marketing Coaches and owners of Mustard Seed Marketing Group, LLC. They have several active blogs and readers are encouraged to visit their Author's Corner Blog, a place for authors and readers to connect. They host various blog parties throughout the year and many guest authors stop by to meet with readers.
Joanne is celebrating the re-release of Mr. Shipley's Governess, an inspirational novel available at Amazon. She was kind enough to share with us some details:

Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her. Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective. When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.

            Sebastian crossed his arms and leaned against the arched doorframe, amused that Sophie continued reading—oblivious to his intrusion. He watched as she scrunched up her face in consternation, seemingly engrossed in the eBook. “So, who do you like better, me or Mr. Knightley?” He heard her sharp intake of breath and she nearly dropped the e-reader as she turned to discover her intruder. 
            “Definitely, that would be Mr. Knightley. He doesn’t have the bad habit of sneaking up on me all the time.”
            Sebastian spanned the room in several strides and sat in the chair opposite her. “Yes, he’s so charming. I hope to someday be like him.”
            “Hey, don’t make fun.” She closed the leopard-print tablet cover with a thud. “He is the epitome of the perfect gentleman.”
            “Actually, I’m serious.”
            “What do you mean?”
            “I’m reading the same book as you. It must be a coincidence.”
            Sophie’s expression softened. “You’re only trying to get on my good side.”
            He leaned forward in mock surprise. “Whatever do you mean, my dear? I thought I was on your good side.”
            “That depends on my mood.”
            “I see. You’re all about a woman’s prerogative.”
            “Yes, I live by that rule.”
            He played along and enjoyed the teasing. “Oh, so you’re one of those.”           
“You’d better believe it. It’s my prerogative to change my mind whenever I want.”
            He fluidly maneuvered to the ottoman where her feet rested and he sat down. “I hope you don’t change your mind about me.”
            “Well, that all depends on you.”
            “I’d better be on my best behavior then.”
            Sophie got up quickly and before he realized it, she walked across the room to the bookshelf. “So, you actually read Emma, too. That’s still surprising and sweet.”
            He followed after her. “You’re avoiding any serious conversation, young lady.”
            She moved away, running her delicate fingers along the spines of the old leather-bound books. He kept following like a lion stalking his prey, backing her into a corner. Leaning her hands against the windowsill, she backed up as far as possible and laughed nervously. He smiled inside as she avoided his steady gaze. He had her exactly where he wanted her. She glanced up shyly. “So, tell me again why you interrupted me.”
            “I did because I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now.” His hands trembled slightly as he cupped her soft cheeks. With his thumbs, he gently traced the outline of her rosy lips. Staring at her for an eternity, he slowly lowered his mouth to hers. Kissing her gently at first, soon his fervor took over. Even though his brain operated in a fog, he realized she must be enjoying the kiss, since she wrapped her arms around his neck and moved in closer to his chest. Nearly breathless, Sebastian pulled away. “I…I’m sorry.”
            She caressed his cheek and for a moment he closed his eyes, relishing her touch. “Don’t be. I’ve wanted you to do that for a long time, too.”
            Oh the sweet bliss of making the right-move at the right-time. He brought her hand to his lips for a kiss. “I should get back to work. David’s going to wonder what happened to me.”
            Sophie giggled and batted her eyes. “Oh, I’m sure he knows.” 
            “Now try not to compare me too much to Mr. Knightley because there’s no contest.”                 
As he left the parlour, the warmth of her lips and the softness of her body in his arms still lingered—making it doubly hard for him to switch gears back into work mode. Taking a deep breath, he hurried down the hall in search of his brother and another inevitable lecture that awaited him for his tardiness. He couldn’t wait for his brother to find the right woman to love. Maybe then, David would realize why Sebastian had one foot on earth and the other in heaven like a love sick puppy.

Mr. Shipley's Governess can be purchased at 

Joanne can be found at her Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and on Goodreads.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Please Welcome Author Heather Manning

Today my guest is Heather Manning, a fellow Astraea Press author. Her novel, Swept to Sea, was released in November. Heather's relatively new to AP, so I asked her several questions so that we can get to know more about her.

What do you do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing, you can find me reading or acting. I think reading is a given considering I’m a writer, and acting is one of my favorites. I think all of these go hand in hand because they all involve characters and a created world.

What would your fans be surprised to know about you?

Some of my fans might be surprised to know that I was published at age 16—and I started working on Swept to Sea during eighth grade.

What's your idea of an ideal vacation?

Hmmm. I love going to new places, and England and New York City have been some of my favorites. I would love to go back to either of those places again. Plus, there’s theatre in NYC and London, and I really love theatre. I guess my ideal vacation is doing something I love where I love.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I chose my genre by reading in it. A lot. I discovered that I really enjoyed it and I had all these ideas just swarming in my head. This was the genre for me.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was reading another book, and I suddenly came up with the idea that I really wanted to write a trilogy following the lives of three English ladies who are best friends and end up facing many adventures in the Caribbean.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

I think my three favorite authors—Deeanne Gist, MaryLu Tyndall, and Mary Connealy influenced my writing. I absolutely love their writing and think it helped me with mine.

How did you come up with the title?

It took me a very long time to come up with the title “Swept to Sea.” I will be the first to admit, I am terrible at coming up with names. I put together lists filled with adjectives, nouns, and verbs that fit my book or were a part of it. Eventually, I paired those three words together and they seemed to be catchy and fitted the novel.

Excerpt from Swept to Sea:
"Hmmmm, what have we got here?" Caspian chuckled, tossing his baldric and weapons onto an armchair rather than putting them away. "Why, I do believe that I have a beautiful young lady hiding out under my desk. Now, is that not a strange occurrence, Reed?" Caspian asked. The child giggled, his eyes sparkling in amusement. "I daresay this has not happened to me before."
Lady Trenton's face flushed to a comely pink. She clambered to her feet, but tripped on her voluminous gown.
"Blast these skirts!" She muttered. Caspian chuckled at the word “blast” coming out of those pretty pink lips.
"Shame on you, Lady Trenton. A lady such as you should not use such loose language. Surely 'tis most improper." Caspian suppressed a grin at her reaction.
Lady Trenton gave him a deadly glare. The woman ceased struggling with her skirts and tried to rise quickly. In the process, she whacked her head against the corner of his desk.
After a moment of looking dazed, she crumpled to the floor in an unconscious heap.
Caspian immediately sobered and stooped down to take her limp form in his arms.
After a second her head jerked up and she struggled against his grasp. Caspian gently laid the woman on his bed. She moaned and curled onto her side, mumbling something incoherent.

Find Swept to Sea on Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, and Astraea Press 

Find Heather on her Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Cleanup Crew

Yesterday I made the cute cards in the picture above. I think I have a new craft hobby, but this one is NOT going to create another mess in my house. I love hand-made cards, but I don't want to spend the money on supplies that I'll hardly ever use. Fortunately, Stampin' Up consultant Christi Waite lives nearby, and she has the perfect solution! She holds sessions in her spacious basement workshop in which participants can come and make them. She even has the pieces of cardstock already cut out and the needed stamps, ink pads, and other supplies set out for us! Best of all, the clean-up is done after we leave – with our completed cards. Visit Christi's BLOG to see her fabulous projects.

Day before yesterday (Tuesday), I finished this pretty quilt top. The pieces were already cut out and I got it done in just a few hours. Thanks to the wonderful church custodians, I didn't have to worry about picking up stray threads from the floor.
Today I'm writing. And I realized I have a clean-up crew for this, too. Once I get my story done, I send it to my publisher, who sends it to an editor. That editor helps me get rid of all the stuff the story doesn't need and polish the stuff that's left. What's left is a story that's as good as it can be, and I didn't have to work as hard as I would have if I had to do it all alone.
So here's a toast to my wonderful editors: Kay, Paula, Stephanie, Kim, and whoever else has had to deal with my unpolished work. Thanks for having the patience to wade through paragraphs of unneeded and repetitious verbiage and helping me to tell stories that I can invite my friends to read.

Sewing: In addition to the quilt top above, I made these Christmas napkins (more gifts and prizes for next December!

Reading: I finished Sherry Gloag's The Wrong Target  and got started on Alyssa Alexander's The Smuggler Wore Silk. It's a regency suspense written by a fellow member of the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America. I love reading books by people I know!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just Dessert by Heather Gray

I'm so pleased to have Heather Gray here again. This time she's sharing her western historical romance, Just Dessert. I fell in love with this story and its characters when several of us participated in the Sweet Saturday Samples blog hop, and I'm delighted that Heather completed the book!

Dessert…the perfect remedy when nothing in life seems to be going right.
What do you do when you are the sole protector of four children, your brothers and sisters?  When each day is haunted by disappointment, disillusionment and desperation?  When you believe that everyone who ever loved you, including God, has abandoned you?
You bake a pie, of course.
What do you do when you find a woman whose heart is consumed by fear?  Who does not know how to trust?  Who scoffs at your faith and throws your kindness back in your face?
You eat a pie, of course.

Seventeen year old Mary Fitzgerald stepped up next to the deacon, a beautiful looking strawberry pie in her hands. Today was the day she started taking lasting steps to protect her family. Pa was passed out at home, having drunk so much there was no way he would be waking up to come to the festivities at the church today.
She had been taking care of and protecting her younger brothers and sisters, the four of them, as far back as she could remember, but her pa was getting meaner and nastier with each passing year. Her brothers were getting angrier and more volatile, too. It was important to get them all out from under Pa's thumb before her brothers were ruined for life, sentenced to turn into men like their pa.
Hoping to find a man willing to wed her and take her brothers and sisters in, too, Mary had entered herself in the dessert auction at a picnic hosted by the church. The auction was one of many events at the picnic, but it was the only one in which Mary was interested. Only eligible men were allowed to bid, and she hoped to use the auction to find a husband. How old, ugly or poor – Mary didn't care as long as he didn't beat or terrorize them. That was her highest hope, to find a man who did not cause her to cower, who did not break her bones, who would not harm her brothers and sisters. She had poured all her hopes for escape into making this pie to help her find a husband. Harboring no illusions about love, Mary didn't even really care if the man was kind; she only needed him not to be too terrible.
As the diminutive deacon with thinning grey hair was about to begin the bidding, Mary glanced up. Fear grabbed hold of her heart and squeezed so tight she thought she might faint right there. Neither the sea of curious faces nor the beautiful blue Idaho sky drew her attention. Pa was coming, and he looked madder'n a hot, hungry bull. Mary couldn't move. Her breath came in short, shallow gasps as she tried to stay conscious. She was terrified of this man. They had been so certain Pa would stay passed out all day, that he wouldn't be able to discover their plan until it was too late. The kids had all dressed in their finest clothes and promised to be on their best behavior – no small feat for the boys – and now here came Pa, ruining their chance for escape.
The deacon had not seen Mr. Fitzgerald yet and was taking a big breath in preparation to start the bidding. His mouth was still open, sucking in air, when the bellow came from the back of the crowd, "That's my young'un and ain't nobody biddin' on her pie! I ain't raisin' no harlot to get paid for her favors!"

Author Bio:
Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing.  Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell.  Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

Buy Links:

Where to Find Me:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Release! Diamond Mine by Felicia Rogers

Felicia Rogers is back with yet another new release! She's certainly been busy the last few months Diamond Mine is the first book in her Wounded Soldiers Series, and Felicia was kind enough to share more about it.


A beautiful country marred by violence, slavery, and illegal diamonds…

A writer and an ex-soldier caught in the middle…

Hannah Baker is a frustrated writer, who needs to get away. Unfortunately, with limited funds and an editor breathing down her neck, she is stuck.  Then without warning an offer comes, one she can’t refuse.
Rory Chance is an ex-British soldier seeking absolution. In a remote area of South Africa, he hides in a monastery until the needs of a friend call him back into the real world.


Hannah sat on a chair, her legs curled underneath her. The long flowing skirt, which looked like something from the seventies, was bunched in a wad. Rory sat across from her. His attire wasn’t that much different. Tan bell-bottom pants and a light blue shirt with a large, open collar graced his muscular body. Smooth, tanned, well-defined skin could be seen through the open V. They both looked like something from Saturday Night Fever.
Munching on a carrot stick, Hannah laid down a pair of fives. They’d played every card game they could think of and some she’d sworn Rory had made up. Boredom was their biggest enemy. No TV, no phone, no Internet, no books, just each other.
“Explain this to me again. Why are we waiting here?”
“Because I’ve sent word to Father Thomas. He’ll be here any moment.”
“I don’t think he’s coming.”
Rory arched a brow. “Well, of course, you don’t.”
“Don’t mock me.” She leaned on the table, her head rested in her hands. “Look, we’ve been here for almost a week. If he was coming, wouldn’t he have been here by now.”
“Maybe. But they don’t have the same system here as you have in America. News travels slower.”
“Besides, why are you rushing things? Don’t you enjoy my company?”
Hannah squirmed. If he only knew.

Reviewer remarks:

“Felicia Rogers' Diamond Mine is an impulsive, adventurous tale of friendship, loyalty and love. This exciting and fast-paced novel will leave you mooning over the characters and yearning for more. I loved every second!” –Chamera Sampson, author and reviewer
“A great read! Real, likable, and relatable characters. I loved this story it was filled with drama, suspense, and love...but there were 2 things that stood out...the 1st was the way Felicia incorporated God into real life it really is more about the way you act not just what you say the 2nd was the bringing to light the real danger of human trafficking that goes on in this world still today that as Americans we are pretty blinded to.” –Danielle Williams, reader

Diamond Mine is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most other ebook outlets.


Felicia Rogers is an author of six novels and three novellas. When she's not writing, Felicia volunteers with the Girl Scouts of America, teaches at a local homeschooling group, hikes, and spends time with her family.
Felicia loves hearing from her readers. Contact her through her website, facebook, Goodreads, or by email.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Wrong Target: Cupid Gone Wild

Now that the frenzy of Christmas and the rush of New Year's is over, we can look forward to the next big holiday. So with apologies to Martin Luther King observances in the US and Burns' Night participants in Scotland, let's just say that the next major holiday is Valentine's Day. Best-selling author Sherry Gloag has a delightful story that's perfect for the occasion: The Wrong Target. I downloaded this on my ipad and read it this past weekend, and I enjoyed it immensely! Here's a bit about the book:

Headmistress Tina Blackberry and business tycoon Ryan Thomas can't control events after Ryan's daughter steals his coveted golden arrow and takes it to school, But put Cupid on the job and nothing can go wrong, or can it?

In the darkening light of the stormy evening, Tina glared at her desk, still sporting one golden arrow. Pock marks littered the surface after various well-intentioned people tried, and failed, to remove the arrow. Thunder rumbled overhead, and the lights flickered. For a second the arrow glowed in a brilliant shaft of lightning that filled the room. She choked back a growl. In some weird way, everything led back to the arrow. Like its owner it exuded an energy that filled her office.
Almost every member of staff had taken a shot at pulling it, wiggling it about, hoping to entice it out to no avail. Tempers frayed, and the much-debated merits of witchcraft, magic, and insanity drove them from the room. She heaved a sigh of relief, until they returned wielding hammers, chisels and screwdrivers.
And still the arrow quivered.
She didn’t know about faeries and witchcraft, but she’d welcome Merlin’s appearance right now. Of course, he never turned up.
Where was a wizard when you needed one?

Best-selling author Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England.  She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs "thinking time" and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel.  While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.
Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office.  She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.
Sherry loves to hear from her readers. Contact her at

The Wrong Target can be purchased at eTreasures,,, Kobo, and other online outlets

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lessons From Dad: Always Do Your Best


Well the first snowstorm of 2014 has melted away, just in time for the second one to hit sometime tonight. It's not supposed to be as bad as the last one, so I'm not expecting a lot of cancellations. And that means I need to get a little more productive during the time I have.
I seem to have this problem of overestimating the things I have time to do. Most of the time it doesn't matter – I do what I need to and don't stress about the fact that maybe I could have done more, or done a better job if I'd had more time. But sometimes it does matter – like when I'm writing a book or grading student homework.
One of the lessons my father taught me was to never accept anything less than my best effort. Dad was a perfectionist. His handwriting was clear and precise, his photographs were worthy of publication in magazines, and his written communication never left any doubt as to what he meant. 
I think I need to take pride in the way I do things. I've finally got most of the house straightened up so that I don't have to panic when the kids say they're coming to spend the night. I have most of my stuff organized enough so that I'm not spending a lot of time looking for something that I just had in my hands five minutes ago. And I like to think that the crafts I make are done to the best of my ability. But there are other areas of my life that need to get more attention – my health, for example. I need to exercise more, and eat less junk. I have a tendency to grab a candy bar when I'm working on a project and need a break.
So here's my dilemma – do I stop taking care of my house and my stuff in order to take care of me? No. The better solution would be to reorganize my time. I really don't need to know what everyone is doing, where they are, or what they think. I don't need to have the highest weekly score on Words With Friends or Scrabble. And I don't have to answer every email message as soon as I get it. Am I going to change overnight? No way. But I guess I can maybe start to cut back. Author Margaret Wang offered a couple of great strategies: set a timer for a certain number of minutes when you are doing the "for fun" stuff – social media, games, etc. and stick to it! And turn the internet OFF when I should be writing.
I guess this is going to be what I'm going to work on this next week: limiting my online time. Maybe I'll get more done. I'm supposed to get edits back on a story that was submitted last fall, so I will probably be buried in what writers call the Editing Cave. I'll have plenty of off-line stuff to do. Will I have the tenacity to keep from opening up my browser for all but five minutes of each hour when it's so easy to just leave it open? I've got to try. Will report back later. Wish me luck!
Anyway, I have some writing news to share – a short story I wrote for Astraea Press was accepted for their Valentine Anthology! Operation Rhombus will be included in a book with stories from nine other authors. I'm not sure what the title of the anthology will be, but I'll be sure to let you know!

Sewing: I managed to finish another few quilt tops. The little triangles for the quilt on the right were cut out and given to me by author Cheryl Sterling just before she moved to Hawaii. This probably isn't what she envisioned when she cut them, but I hope she approves.

Reading: I finished reading One Red Shoe by fellow MMRWA member Diane Burton. What a wild ride! So glad I decided to read it. I'll post a review soon. Next up: The Wrong Target by Sherry Gloag. She's going to be here next Monday so I hope I have time to finish it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Please Welcome Author EA West

Today, author E. A. West is here to share with us her recently updated novel, Finding the Way Home:

Nurse practitioner Hazel Baker is stunned when the Agency asks her to take a traumatized field agent home with her. Her immediate concern is how it will affect her four-year-old daughter. But, after meeting the broken man, she can’t deny him the opportunity for healing and opens her home to him. If only she could find a way to help him regain the ability to speak, which he lost after being captured during a mission…
Ian Grant may not have a voice, but he still has a conscience — something many of his colleagues at the Agency seem to have lost. Their unethical behavior set back his recovery from the torture he endured, but his move to Hazel’s house gives him hope that perhaps someone truly does care about him, not just what he knows. But can Hazel’s gentle presence and her daughter’s innocence help him find the strength to fight against the corruption riddling the Agency?

Hazel turned to face the director and Mr. Wolenczek behind him. “I want to speak with Ian for a moment before I make a final decision. If all goes well, I will take him in and do whatever I can to aid his recovery.”
A furrow formed between Director Cole’s eyebrows, and he drew in a breath. “I’m not sure—”
“Let me go in first,” Mr. Wolenczek said. “Ian knows me, so it might go better if I introduce you before you talk to him.”
“That’s fine.” Hazel ignored the director’s displeased expression and followed Mr. Wolenczek to the door of the observation room.
He typed a code into the keypad by the door, and the light turned red. Opening the door, he stepped inside and spoke in a low, even tone. “Ian, let me know you hear me.”
Ian lifted a hand in a halfhearted wave before letting it fall into his lap again. Mr. Wolenczek stepped farther into the room and motioned for Hazel to join him.
“Ian, this is Hazel Baker. She’s a nurse practitioner and would like to speak with you. All right?”
The same hand lifted briefly in acknowledgement, but otherwise Ian showed no sign that he was aware of the world around him.
Hazel glanced at Mr. Wolenczek, and he nodded. Drawing in a calming breath, she stepped forward and knelt before her soon-to-be patient and housemate. “Ian, they’ve asked that I bring you to my home so you won’t have to stay here any longer. Would you like that?”
He lifted his head ever so slightly and met her gaze with chocolate brown eyes. The shadows of horror were unmistakable, but she suddenly had a feeling he was aware of a lot more than he let on.
She gave him a smile and laid her hand on his arm in a show of friendship. “I have a four-year-old daughter. Her name is Ellie.”
Ian studied her for what felt like an eternity before he finally gave a single small nod. He dropped his gaze again, and Hazel glanced at Mr. Wolenczek. He shrugged, offering no help in deciphering the nod. She turned back to Ian.
“Does that mean you want to come stay with me?” He nodded again, and Hazel gave his arm a gentle squeeze. “All right, then. We’ll make arrangements to transport you to my house.”
She stood and followed Mr. Wolenczek out of the room. As he and the others discussed the transportation plan, she glanced through the glass wall. Ian met her gaze and held it for a few seconds before looking away again. He stretched out on the bench with his back to the hall, and Hazel tried to return her attention to the discussion around her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get those troubled brown eyes out of her mind. It felt like he was trying to tell her something, but what?


Finding the Way Back is available from most online retailers including Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

About the Author:
E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

Connect with E.A. West and learn more about her books in the following places:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Please Welcome Author Kathy Bosman

I am pleased to host South African author Kathy Bosman to Creative Hodgepodge today! Kathy has two books published at Astraea Press, and she's here to tell us about her most recent took, Three Tiers for Win. Take it away, Kathy!

I write romance and Three Tiers for Win is predominantly romance, but every now and then I like to put in some other thread into a book. Three Tiers for Win is different from my other books in that it’s a sports romance. Who would have thought that someone who was never sporty or serious about sports would enjoy writing a sports romance? It’s also an adventure with a few nail-biting moments in the book.
The other thread that runs through the book is sibling relationships. Sometimes an adult sibling can be a wonderful friend but other times they can cause pain or maybe there’s no relationship at all. Elaine’s relationship with her brother, Mick, turns sour because he doesn’t approve of her spending time with Win. Mick is a professional swimmer aiming for Olympic gold and so is Win. In fact, Elaine met Win when Mick invited his swimmer friends over so she wonders why he becomes so possessive.
Win comes from a stormy family background and Mick keeps on using that as the reason. Yes, Win doesn’t exactly live in the best neighbourhood but he’s studying for a law degree and working towards succeeding in life. Elaine sees that in him. She sees what a gentleman and good person he is.
The young woman soon discovers that Mick’s resistance to Win goes deeper than protectiveness towards his sister.
Eventually, there’s a blow up.
How will Elaine and Win handle the conflict and will it pull them apart or draw them closer together?
I enjoyed writing about Elaine’s brother maybe because of dealing with the pain of a disabled sibling. Mick isn’t disabled, but Elaine fears for his wellbeing at one stage in the book. My brother has to use a walker to get around and struggles with many things that we take for granted. He hasn’t had the joy of raising his own family like most healthy adults do. I suppose writing about Mick helped me work through those feelings in a way. I think we often use writing as an outlet or to make sense of the feelings or thoughts swirling around in our heads. Not that our characters are a copy of anyone – Mick is a unique fictional character, but it’s great fun to write about the dynamics of relationships in my books.

Three Tiers for Win is a story of adventure, romance, and family passion that unfolds with the backdrop of the 2012 London Olympics. Elaine said she would never date an athlete as they’re too driven. That’s until she meets kind, yet intensely focused and ambitious South African Olympic swimmer, Winston Harper. He stands for everything she’d chosen not to go for. Win also has a bad family history which keeps him from opening his heart to her. When intense attraction and affection breaks through some of their barriers, family secrets and conflicts pull them apart again. Only Elaine’s support and Win’s brokenness can draw them back together, but will that be strong enough to wipe away the past?


Her hands shook as she spooned the mixture back into the food processor and he came closer to peer into the bowl. Electricity seemed to ooze out of his pores instead of sweat. She had a strong desire to rub the raised hairs on her arms.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“I’ll mix the baking powder into a paste and add it in.” Wish he would go away so I can do this in peace.
“Good idea.”
“Aren’t the guys missing you?” she asked.
“Trying to get rid of me?”
Her cheeks throbbed, and she steadied the dish she was holding with all the willpower left inside of her.
“I’ll only go if you let me make myself some coffee. The other guys are drinking sports and fruit drinks. I feel like coffee.”
She laughed. “Are you eating right for your training?”
“Not really.”
“Okay.” She couldn’t help smiling. This guy was becoming more and more appealing with each minute.
“Ooh, there’s biltong.”
“It’s Mick’s. But I have some chocolate if you’re in the mood for being naughty.” Why did she say that? Now her face must be as red as a tomato because of the thoughts running through her head.
“Do you think he’ll mind if I grab some?”
She considered offering to buy Mick some more. The poor guy was starved. “What exactly did my brother buy for you all tonight?”
“Chicken salad.” The face he pulled forced a strange squeaky giggle out of her. She would have given her usual trill laugh if she didn’t feel so embarrassed and overwhelmed with strange feelings for the guy.
“I wish I had something else to offer you.”
“Come out to dinner with me. Then I can order a man-sized steak.”
Flustered was not a strong enough word for Elaine at that moment. She could swear the temperature in the kitchen was as hot as the oven and that the room was about to explode. “I have to bake a cake.”
“That can wait, can’t it? Tomorrow’s another day. If you want, I’ll help you with it.”
The guy was probably aiming to get into the Olympics team. They had two months left before the trials. He couldn’t be serious about giving up a training day to help some silly girl bake a wedding cake? That idea didn’t match the solid, oozing-with-masculinity man with piercing steel blue eyes, standing a mere two feet from her. She must be dreaming. Maybe she’d fallen asleep next to Peggy on the sofa, and she would wake up to find this all a crazy dream.
“I think a cup of coffee will have to do then.” He turned around and pushed the kettle button on. She hadn’t said ‘no,’ and now he was giving up. Her heart plummeted to zero in two seconds. She’d just missed the opportunity of her life to go on a date with the hunkiest piece of male on the planet.
What was she thinking? Of course it wasn’t a good idea. She wasn’t setting herself up for disappointment going with someone smooth and driven like him who would hurt her as soon as the athletic or model type woman came along.

Author Bio
Kathy loves reading and writing even more. She homeschools her three children, one a teenager, so in between unsuccessfully explaining the difference between subject and predicate or how to divide fractions, she enters an imaginary world of troubled and passionate characters whose stories take over the page. Kathy lives in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, where the summers are hot, the winters cool, and bugs thrive. Her first published novel, Wedding Gown Girl, came out in 2012 with Astraea Press. She belongs to the Romance Writers of South Africa Group (ROSA), which has been her greatest support and inspiration the last few years.

Buy Links: Three Tiers for Win is available at several ebook distributors, including Astraea Press, Amazon US, Amazon UK, All Romance EbooksSmashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

Connect with Kathy Bosman at her Website and blog, Facebook author page, Twitter, and Goodreads.