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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Interview with Anita

A Marriage in Middlebury

The idea for this book came from my absolute love of tearooms in Texas. In fact, here’s my note to readers on that very subject:
More than a decade ago I met a woman named Linda Becker who opened a tearoom in the Houston burbs called, Tea for Two. Her eatery and gift shop did so well, she opened a second shop. Over the years I’ve enjoyed her wonderful tearoom fare as well as the quaint ambiance. Linda’s tearoom isn’t just a café—it’s a gathering place for friends, a place to eat home cooked food, and a place so cozy you don’t want to leave. As a writer I thought it might be fun to create a heroine who owns a tearoom similar to Linda’s and set her shop in a small town on the gulf coast of Texas. So, that’s how the novel, A Marriage in Middlebury, was born. Even though my story, the characters, and the town are fictional, Linda’s tearooms are real places you can visit and enjoy. Thank you, Linda, for the great food, and the fellowship, and the inspiration.

Everything was going smoothly for the main character when suddenly everything changes with the return of her ex. What advice do you have when life throws a curveball?

As a Christian we should trust in the One who made us, the One who’s known us from the first day when we were being knit together in our mother’s womb, the One who loves us best. Trusting in Him during life’s storms is the only answer, and it’s more than enough.

Charlotte was pressured into breaking off her relationship with Sam by Sam’s father - how should we react to family pressures and difficult relatives?

Bathe the situation in prayer and then talk things through no matter how painful. But once the air is clear, forgive and move on. Don’t keep going back over and over. Forgiveness is not easy, but it’s the only way to live free. It helps to remember that forgiveness is what God offered us when we sinned against Him.

Is there a certain Bible passage or verse that goes along with the theme of A Marriage in Middlebury?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Are any of the characters or events in A Marriage in Middlebury based on your own experiences?

Well, I love art, flowers, quirky characters, and tearooms. And somehow I managed to put them all into the novel. It was a fun ride!

Do you find yourself returning to similar themes in your novels (i.e. forgiveness, trust, etc.) or do you have a new message with each release?

Yes, I tend to go back to the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation. These are not only good themes for a story, but they are paramount in living the Christian life.

What do you hope readers will walk away with after they turn the last page of A Marriage in Middlebury?

That with God all things are possible!

Like several of your other books, A Marriage in Middlebury is set in your home state of Texas - what are some of your favorite things about Texas?

Overall, Texas is an inexpensive place to live, it’s a great place to raise a family, and it’s one of the friendliest places on earth. I’ve lived here for about thirty years, and I’m proud to call Texas my home.

Before becoming a writer, you had number of interesting jobs - what was it about writing that drew you in?

I had an incredible need to tell stories. I don’t think I had a choice in becoming a writer—the profession sort of chose me. But I’m content in that truth.



 Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has thirty-six
books published. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.
Please visit her website at www.anitahigman.com and drop her a note by clicking the “Contact Me” button. 


Anita is giving away a copy of her book. Answer the question and leave your name with your email address to enter the drawing for the book. Winner will be chosen on Saturday, February 1. Being a follower of this blog will give you an extra entry so please let me know.

Question: What is it sometimes difficult for even Christians to forgive right away?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review

A Marriage in Middlebury

From the very first chapter, the characters in Marriage in Middlebury will capture your heart and your imagination. Charlotte Rose Hill and Sam Wilder are the star-crossed lovers who parted many years ago. Now he's back in town with Audrey, his bride-to-be, but old flames die hard as Charlotte discovers when asked to plan the reception for the wedding. Using a tea room for the backdrop for many of the scenes, the reader feels as though he or she may be a part of the patrons who drop in for a cup of tea and a special treat. Love is in the air, but will the right people end up with the right partners? Higman takes us on a merry tour of Middlebury with delightful characters and intriguing settings. It's a perfect blend of the sweet with the bitter with a touch of humor and interesting twists. 



About the Book:
Charlotte Rose Hill, who loves serving up country delicacies and uniquely blended teas, discovers that while she's been faithfully caring for her tearoom customers, she'd also been quietly turning into an old maid. Charlotte did fall in love with a young man, Sam Wilder, when she was 18, but his family forced her to walk away from their relationship. Now, more than a decade later, Charlotte finds that she still has feelings for her first love. Initially thrilled to learn that Sam has come home to Middlebury, Texas, Charlotte is then devastated to learn that he's brought someone with him: his fiancée. But all is not lost when one of the loveable but meddlesome townsfolk decides to get involved. Will the next marriage in Middlebury be for Sam and Charlotte? 

We're giving away a copy of the book, so leave a comment along with your email address so we can contact you if you win. Being a follower will earn you an extra entry. Also come back tomorrow for an interview with Anita and another chance to enter. U.S. entries only are eligible.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited by law; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. No purchase is necessary and only one entry per interview or post. Winner will be selected next week-end and posted here on Monday, February 3. You must be 18 or older to enter. 



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meet the Hero

Wagons Ho!

Today we have Garrett Cowlishaw as our guest. He is the a friend of Rutherford Wainwright and is in St. Charles to recruit a band of people to travel west to the frontier. 

1.      How would you describe yourself? 
As a disappointment. At least I was to my father, my brother, and  Corliss Huffington back in Virginia.
2.      What is your profession (career, job)? Describe a little about what you do.
Been a hired hand on two excursions west. Then served as a Confederate soldier in the War Between the States, although that assumption has been debated. Now I'm in St. Charles, Missouri, to serve as Captain to The Boone's Lick Wagon Train Company. 

3.      What is the most interesting thing about you?
I limp. I suppose the reason why might be the thing most folks find interesting (or at least confusing).

4.      What do you put off because you dread doing it or don’t want to do it?
Telling the truth about my past.
5.      What is your most important goal in life or what do you hope to accomplish?
Enjoy a fresh start. Is that even possible? 
6.      What causes you the most fear? 
My feelings for Caroline Milburn, or should I say Mrs. Phillip Milburn. Unless she's widowed. Still, my jumbled feelings for the perplexing woman will do neither of us any good. 
7. What thing(s) are most important to you?  The truth. Loyalty. Discovery.
8.      What do you want others to see in you?   A man of solid character--a man worth trusting . . . worth loving.
9.      What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I'm not good at finding or appropriating spare time. I suppose a woman's company might help me resolve that.
10.  What gives you the most pleasure in life? Seeing Caroline Milburn smile, a rarity in my company.

Thank you, Garrett. We all look forward to reading more about you in Ripples Along the Shore, story number three in The Quilted Heart.
Mona Hodgson is the author of nearly 40 books, historical novels for adults and children’s books, including her popular Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, The Quilted Heart novellas, and Prairie Song, Book 1 in her Hearts Seeking Home Series. Her children’s books include bestseller, Bedtime in the Southwest, six desert and princess Zonderkidz I Can Read books, Real Girls of the Bible: A 31-Day Devotional, and her six I Wonder books.
Mona’s writing credits also include several hundred articles, poems and short stories, which have appeared in 50 different publications. Mona is a speaker for women’s groups, Christian women’s retreats, book clubs and reading groups, schools, and conferences for writers and librarians.

Mona Hodgson is the author of nearly 40 books, historical novels for adults and children’s books, including her popular Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, The Quilted Heart novellas, and Prairie Song, Book 1 in her Hearts Seeking Home Series. Her children’s books include bestseller, Bedtime in the Southwest, six desert and princess Zonderkidz I Can Read books, Real Girls of the Bible: A 31-Day Devotional, and her six I Wonder books.
Leave a comment and answer the question: Would you have been one of the adventurous ones to head West to unknown territory? Why or why not? Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you.
Connect with Mona:

https://twitter.com/MonaHodgson

Monday, January 20, 2014

Special Guest Mona Hodgson

The Quilted Heart

Mona Hodgson has taken the lives of three women and woven them together in the aftermath of the Civil War. Each one has a unique story, yet they blend in such a way that the reader is drawn into one seamless unfolding of events which change the direction of each of their lives by the most unlikely of men for their situation. With distinct personalities that resonate on the page, Mona gives the reader stories of courage and stamina that will capture the heart and keep the pages turning. 

Like a beautiful patchwork quilt, the three novellas in The Quilted Heart tell stories of lives stitched together with love and God’s unending grace. 
 
Once a week, Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town of St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies who gather there have all experienced heartache related to the intense hardships of the Civil War, and together, they are facing their painful circumstances with friendship and prayer. Can the tattered pieces of their hearts be stitched together by God’s grace? 

Maren, Emilie, and Caroline each have a different story, but put together, they become a patchwork of love and courage.


As an added bonus:
Please save the date for a Book Release Party on Facebook, Friday, January 24th! You'll find her in the Notes Section on her "Mona Hodgson Author Page" from 4 pm to 6 pm (Mountain Time). To calculate what time this is for you, click here: http://www.thetimezoneconverter.com. Mona will answer questions, give away prizes, and share photos and behind-the-scenes stories about the three novellas included in The Quilted Heart omnibus, set in Saint Charles, Missouri.
Leave a comment today for a chance at chance at winning a copy of this book then come back tomorrow for an interview with one of the characters from the collection.
Follow the blog for an extra entry into the drawing. Please remember to leave your email address so you may be contacted if your name is selected.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Meet Josh Harper

Today we welcome Vickie McDonough and the hero of her novel, Call of the Prairie. 

How would you describe yourself? 

My name is Josh Harper, and I’m the middle-born of the three Harper brothers. I mostly grew up on a stage stop that my family runs in Kansas, along the Santa Fe Trail. It was a remote place, but it wasn’t too lonely, because stage travelers stopped regularly, so Ma could fix them a hot meal while we caught up on all the news before they traveled on. We also got to see folks when travelers or wagon trains would stop at our place. I enjoyed it, but I was more bookish than my two brothers and always had a hankering to live in town. I got my chance after the train went through and our stage business dwindled. Now I manage my uncle’s bank in Windmill, a small Kansas town. I miss my close-knit family, but at least my young niece and nephew are here with my while they attend school.

What is your profession? 
I’m a rancher-turned-bank president, although my secret desire is to build finely crafted furniture. 

What is the most interesting thing about you? 
Hmm…not sure you’d call it interesting, but I’m much different than my brothers. They’re both taller and more brawny than me, not that I couldn’t take one of them down if I had to. I’m not embarrassed to say I like flowers. I’ve grown a big, colorful garden of them in my back yard. My interest started at the ranch when I got an empty journal for Christmas one year. I started drawing pictures of flowers and then looking up the scientific info on them, when I got the chance. The women of the family love my book, although my brothers still tease me about it every now and then.

What you put off because you dread doing it or don’t want to do it? 
Lately, it’s been dropping off Corrie and Toby, my niece and nephew, at my neighbor’s. Miss Maudie, the elderly lady who watches them after school and on days I have to go in early to work before school starts, had a bad fall. Her niece came to help, but I have my doubts about the tiny woman. I’m not sure the citified gal is up to the task of caring for an ill woman and a houseful of rowdy young’uns. If I had any other place to take them, I would do so. 

What is your most important goal in life or what do you hope to accomplish? 
I’ve already accomplished one of my major goals, which was to leave the ranch and to live and work in town. I love my close-knit family, but I also like being around other people and attending church, which a town offers. The next thing I’d like to accomplish is to start my own furniture-building business. I enjoy working at the bank, except for having to foreclose on struggling farmers and ranchers, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction at the end of the day that crafting things from wood does. I’d also like to marry and start a family before too long.

What causes you the most fear? 
The thought of something happening to Corrie or Toby. I’ve never been a father, so it’s sometimes been a challenge to keep them inline and on-task, especially with Toby. The children belong to my older brother, Aaron, and he already lost his wife in a tragic event. I don’t know if he could handle losing one of his children, so I feel extra pressure to make sure nothing happens to them, and that’s only increases my anxiety at leaving them with my neighbor.

What thing(s) are most important to you? 
God first. Family second. Then others.   

What do you want others to see in you? 
That I’m an honorable and hard-working, godly man. 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I don’t have much free time with the children living with me but there are three things I prefer to do when I get a little time to myself: read, work in my wood-working shed, or spend time in my garden. Lately though, I’ve been looking for way to spend time with Sophie, my neighbor’s niece. She’s starting to grow on me—and she has the most incredible brown eyes I’ve ever seen.10.  What gives you the most pleasure in life? A job well done, an inspiring church service, sitting down with my whole family to one of Ma’s fine-cooked meals, and lately, spending time with Sophie Davenport. Did I mention I’m a bit attracted to the pretty woman? Who knows where that might lead? 

Thanks for stopping by with Vickie today, Josh. You certainly have a full life, and it sounds like it's going to get a lot more interesting very soon.

Book 2 in the Pioneer Promises series. Read more about the book on Amazon.
Call of the Prairie


Sophie Davenport fears life is passing her by. Her strict, overprotective parents have kept her close to home because of the severe asthma attacks she sometimes endures. She longs to live a normal life and hopes to marry, but that dream seems impossible. When her aunt has a tragic accident and requests someone come to Kansas to help her, no one is available except Sophie. Her father, tied up with business, reluctantly agrees to let her go. Sophie is ecstatic and sees this trip as her one chance to prove to her parents—and herself—that she’s capable of living on her own. But things in the small town of Windmill are not as her aunt portrayed. And her aunt’s handsome neighbor, guardian of two of the children her aunt cares for after school, obviously doubts her abilities. Will the Kansas dust, the drama, and difficulties prove too much for Sophie? Or will she lose her heart to her neighbor and succumb to the call of the prairie?
http://tinyurl.com/lzhnool

Tell us what traits are most important for a hero in a romance and be in the drawing for copy of Call of the Prairie

Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you in case you win. Limited to the U.S. only at this time for the free copy of the book. 


Monday, January 06, 2014

Call of the Prairie


Call of the Prairie 

Sophie Davenport has always been "sickly" and confined to limited activities. Heavily protected by her parents and longing for a way to escape her constricted life, she jumps at the chance to travel to Kansas to take care of an ailing aunt. Imagine her surprise to find a run-down house, an aunt in worse health than thought, and five school children in her charge. It's enough to cause an asthma attack and that attracts the attention of Josh Harper, banker and uncle of two of the children under Aunt Maud's care. Because of her petite size, Josh can't see how Sophie will manage the care of the house, her aunt and the children. She begins to wonder the same when she finds mysterious holes in the wall and stairway as well as strange happenings in her pantry.

Sophie's efforts to prove Josh wrong leads to some merry adventures including advances from charming and delightful scoundrel Wade Barnes. With wonderful characters who grab the heart, Vickie McDonough gives the reader a story that will lead to laughter, tears, and some frustration as Josh grows to admire Sophie. But will he be too late and lose her to Wade? Vickie throws in a few surprises along the way that will delight the reader and leave them wanting to know more of the story in the days following the last page.  


Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen and others living in the western 1800s. Vickie is the award-winning author of 29 published books and novellas. Her books include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie, which released last July, was chosen by Romantic Times as one of their Recommended Inspirational Books for July.

Vickie is a wife of thirty-eight years, mother of four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and grandma to a feisty seven-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books, visit her website and sign-up for her newsletter: 
www.vickiemcdonough.com


Leave a comment today, then come back tomorrow for an interview with Josh Harper and you will be entered in the drawing for a copy of this delightful book. If you are not a follower, sign up and you will receive an extra entry in the drawing.