Monthly Archives: January 2017
I was very pleased to be interviewed by accomplished author (and fellow Idahoan) Peter Leavell, author of Gideon’s Call and West for the Black Hills, on behalf of American Christian Fiction Writers. He asked insightful, thoughtful questions about the 1920s, the writing process, and more. Check out the interview here.
Happy New Year! Since the story opens on New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of my next novel (as yet untitled). Enjoy!
At exactly three hours and fifty-seven minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, Dot Rodgers slid the lacy forest-green dress over her head, smoothed it into place, tied the wide satin sash around her hips, took one look at herself in the narrow bedroom mirror, and ripped the horrid thing off again.
“Ugh!” she muttered, nose twitching as green lace brushed against her face. The dress would have been the ideal choice if she were traveling back in time to her Indiana high school’s Holiday Hop, instead of heading off to a sophisticated soiree at her friend Veronica’s Chicago apartment.
She flung the offending garment onto the pile of discarded clothing strewn across her bed, a mishmash of demure frocks festooned with bits of ribbon, lace, and tatting, as if somebody’s Grandma Lou had been set to work fashioning collars and cuffs. Remarkably, she had only herself to blame, Each garment had been deliberately acquired in recent weeks by Dot herself, part of a sincere campaign to transform herself into someone she was not.
But now, under the rosy glow of her scarlet-shaded lamp, each and every dress looked like it belonged in someone else’s closet. Perhaps Marjorie’s closet. Yes, these clothes would suit Dot’s best friend and roommate, Marjorie Corrigan, to a T. But on Dot they felt like costumes borrowed from a theater, as if she were a character in a play. And a supporting cast member at that, she thought darkly. Not even the star of the show, which was tough on a woman who enjoyed the spotlight.
In fact, if Marjorie had been present, Dot would have handed her the dress without hesitation, and been delighted to watch her eyes light up. Lace! Ribbons! But her friend was visiting her hometown of Kerryville, ringing in the New Year with her family and neck-deep in preparations for her wedding to Peter Bachmann, set to take place on Valentine’s Day. Trust a romantic soul like Marjorie to choose a wedding day already overburdened with hearts and flowers and sentimental cherubs aiming poison arrows at unsuspecting people.
Not that love was poison, exactly. But it did complicate a girl’s life to no end.
Hands on hips, Dot surveyed the wreckage heaped the bed. Hopeless. Not one outfit qualified to be worn out on the town. She wanted something dazzling and eye-catching and fun, but also the sort of dress Charlie would approve of. Not that he ever complained about what she wore. He never complained about anything which, to be frank, was part of the problem. He treated Dot as if she were an ideal specimen of womanhood, which embarrassed her, knowing how very wrong he was about that. But she also knew, without his saying so, that he appreciated the kind of lady who dressed modestly, who would fit easily into the social life of Kerryville, such as it was, and wouldn’t attract undue attention. Over the few months that they’d been seeing each other, she’d tried to reform herself into that kind of girl. But old habits died hard. And now it was New Year’s Eve, a night to shine if there ever was one, and they were going to a party with all her old friends from the cabaret. What would they think if she showed up dressed like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, that sugar-sweet novel from her youth?
Dot shivered in her thin satin slip. Frankly, she deserved to have a good time, after the disastrous Christmas she’d had. She should have known better than to go to show up unannounced on her family’s Indiana doorstep on Christmas Day. Her father’s angry voice still rang in her head.
It was all Charlie’s fault. She never would have gone, if he hadn’t encouraged her. Make peace with your mother and sisters, he’d said. Don’t let your father bully you. Well, that had gone well, hadn’t it? Maybe all that forgiveness and reconciliation stuff worked well in a perfect family like the Corrigans, but not in the household of Reverend Oliver Barker. Yes, she was crazy about Charlie, but he ought not to have interfered.And she should have known better than to take his advice.
The chime of the small clock on the dresser jolted her back to reality. Charlie would be pressing the door buzzer any minute. With fresh defiance, she marched to the jam-packed closet, shoved aside skirts and sweaters, and reached to the back for a sparkly silver dress last worn to a shindig at Louie’s Villa Italiana. Here was a real party dress, and she’d wear it whether Charlie approved or not.
Eagerly she slipped the dress over her head, adjusted the hem, and cast an admiring glance in the mirror. That was more like it! Covered in metallic beads and silky fringe, it caught the light with every move she made. From the top drawer of the dresser she selected a headband encrusted with jet beads and rhinestones and slid it onto her brow, resting it over her smooth dark bangs. She clipped on a pair of ornate chandelier earbobs, enjoying the feel of the cool metal grazing her jawline. She added a long rope of beads, knotting them at the breastbone. A final flick of the comb to her straight, chin-length bob, a quick swipe of red lipstick and a sweep of kohl around her eyes, and she was ready, just as the buzzer sounded.
January 2017 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley by Valerie Comer, Mary Jane Hathaway, Elizabeth Maddrey, Danica Favorite, Lee Tobin McClain and Annalisa Daughety — Is love possible for a makeshift mom and a handsome widower? What about a bed and breakfast owner and the farmer next door? A curvy jilted bride and a mysterious, handsome chef? Then there’s the real estate consultant and the grandson of her elderly client; a high-powered lawyer and a woman farmer, and a formerly engaged couple. Can love make a difference in their lives? Exploring food, friends, and family in Arcadia Valley, each of these novellas kicks off a three-book series, intertwined with the works of the other authors. This collection is only the beginning of your adventure! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Restoring Love by Jennifer Slattery — Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. As Mitch struggles to keep his business afloat, and Angela works to correct the mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends discover they have something unexpected in common–a young mom fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back from redemption and true love? (Contemporary Romance from New Hope Publishers)
Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering — Drew and Madeline Farthering visit the Yorkshire moor to catch a killer and solve a mystery that involves an old feud, a new rivalry and a huge, spectral hound that may or may not be a harbinger of death. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])
A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander — A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to get an audition at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. Women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, he says, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed. Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the new opera hall opens. But far more pressing, he must finish it for his dying father, who inspired his love of music. Then Tate’s ailment worsens. Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])
The American Heiress Brides Collection by Lisa Carter, Mary Eileen Davis, Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Lisa Karon Richardson, Lynette Sowell and Kimberley Woodhouse — Meet nine young women in America between 1880 and 1911 who have been blessed by fortunes made in gold, silver, industry, ranching, and banking. But when it comes to love, each woman struggles to find true love within a society where “first comes money, second comes marriage.” What kind of man can they trust with their greatest treasure—their hearts? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Two Suitors for Anna by Molly Jebber — In 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for with her beloved Noah Schwartz, and a new, very different future… But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they’re married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves. Daniel Bontrager’s arrival adds to Anna’s confusion. Since taking over his late brother’s farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share… (Historical Romance from Kensington)
My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas by Erica Vetsch — Journey to Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle of emotions versus ideals is about to be waged. When a high-steppin’ eastern fashion artist, Priscilla Hutchens, swoops down on the fort to gain custody of her twin niece and nephew she is met with resistance by their uncle, post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who thinks he knows what is best for them. Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Dead Run by Jodie Bailey — Kristin James’s morning run turns deadly when she’s attacked by a stranger who’s after something her deceased soldier brother stole overseas. Her neighbor Sergeant First Class Lucas Murphy steps in to help her and won’t let her brush the attack under the rug. He’ll do everything he can to keep Kristin alive, but he can’t tell her that he’s under orders to investigate her link to her brother’s misdeeds. Kristin has no idea what the bad guy is after and doesn’t want to believe that her brother wasn’t on the straight and narrow. But as evidence against him piles up, can they catch the criminals without becoming the next casualties? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley — It’s been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi Hollister’s sister was murdered. The confessed killer is behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn’t actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, the person who confessed to the crime is Will’s cousin. They have less than a week to find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But much can be accomplished in one week–including uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and falling in love. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker])
Undercover Protector by Elizabeth Goddard — Undercover at a tiger sanctuary, Special Agent Grayson Wilde is convinced the owner’s involved in a wildlife trafficking ring–until someone tries to kill her. Gemma’s determined to rebuild the tiger oasis she lost when her family died, but someone wants her out of the way, and she’s starting to wonder if her parents’ and uncle’s deaths were really accidental. Grayson says he’ll do anything to protect Gemma, but she can’t shake the feeling that her alluring new volunteer might not be all that he seems. With a vicious criminal closing in, though, she has to trust Grayson…because she won’t survive without him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Buried Memories by Carol J. Post — A soldier hero suffering from PTSD and a young woman struggling to overcome a traumatic childhood fight for their lives and find healing together. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Still Life by Dani Pettrey — Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart. Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])
Fatal Accusation by Rachel Dylan — Attorney Olivia Murray hopes her life in Windy Ridge will get back to normal after a hard-fought trial. But she soon finds out that the forces of evil have not given up. An embezzling scandal rocks the community church to its core. The New Age groups are ready to declare victory when a high-profile prosecutor files criminal charges against the local pastor. However, Olivia is not willing to give up on the community she’s come to love. She takes on the defense pro bono knowing it could destroy her career, but it’s a case she is called to defend. The battle will be fierce, but she’s not fighting it alone. Her friend and fellow attorney Grant Baxter is by her side. Olivia must use all the tools in her arsenal to combat those who seek to destroy the believers in the community. If Olivia can’t prove the pastor’s innocence, more than her career is on the line. The entire community of Windy Ridge could fall to the forces of darkness. (Supernatural Thriller, Independently Published)