A few giveaway reminders!

Don’t forget to leave a comment here for your chance to win one of the novels in my August Giveaway! The deadline is August 31!

Another giveaway is in the Because Fiction magazine. #BecauseFiction Magazine August Issue is here! Check out articles from your favorite Christian authors such as Jennifer Pierce, Liz Tolsma, Marguerite Gray, and Tabitha Bouldin, and enter a bunch of giveaways for some fun prizes!Enjoy!

https://mailchi.mp/75b6733bc49d/becausefiction-magazine-august-editions-giveaways-more-6220122

FYI: My article was not printed in full so here it is:

Average vs. Genius

I am project minded. I function best with a goal and deadline on my calendar at all times. If there is not one, I find one and hit the ground running (or walking), investigating the avenues in order to achieve the results I want.

My father is the same way. He must have a list of projects to accomplish whether creative or physical. His list is as long as mine. The difference? He is a genius. He can handle a variety of things at one time and do a very good job! And before I’ve finished one project, he’s completed five. I try to keep up, but I must not have the brain power or the energy.

My lists include house, garden, work, and writing projects. I’ll share what I have to do for my writing in order to complete anything. If I see all the items on the list and all the different parts to be accomplished, I rebel and not much gets done.

So, here is what I do almost daily:

  1. Reading—I start and end my day with reading beloved fiction by my favorite or new authors. I record all my reading activity on Goodreads and in my reading journal. Each book has its own page where I write the dates and my thoughts.
  2. Reviewing—This is not daily, for it depends on when I finish a book. I review through Celebrate Lit Blog Tours, Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub.  My stack of print books is very tall! But I also have audible and eBooks. It’s a project of a lifetime.
  3. Researching—Since I mainly write historical fiction, I am constantly researching, not just one or two books or resources but 10-15 or more. I spend three months or so researching before I start the writing project. It gives me ideas and a backdrop for my characters.
  4. Writing—Finally, the words start flowing after I outline and plan my novel. I write with pen and paper, so it can go anywhere with me. After that, I input it on the computer where I immediately start the next stage. My mission is to write every day, even if only 200 words.
  5. Editing—This is an ongoing, constant process that involves more than me. After I edit my finished product, I send it to a professional editor. When he finishes, I put in the corrections. Next, I have two-three Beta readers read for content, grammar, etc., catching all the mistakes my editor and I missed. Also, my publisher has an additional two-three professional edits. Yes, I’m tired during this stage. I seem to always be editing something.

That is a little bit about me and my reading/writing world. Of course, I have to add the house, the garden, work, exercise, and family. If an average IQ can get things done, what can a genius accomplish?

Enter both giveaways soon!

Review and Giveaway Dogwood Winter

Dogwood Winter

About the Book

Book:  Dogwood Winter

Author: Candace West

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: August 24, 2021

FC - Dogwood Winter by Candace West - FINAL (1)

A Lukewarm Correspondence. A Tattered Reputation. Two Hearts at Odds.

He is walking away while she is fighting to walk.

After a springtime swim, Ella Steen is stricken with a dire illness, leaving her without the use of her legs. Meanwhile, Dr. George Curtis, the man she secretly loves, faces ruin. For over a year, the crusty New York City bachelor and vivacious spinster have exchanged dozens of letters and formed a wary friendship.

Neither are willing to open their hearts completely. Until they face each other. The past looms between them, however. Does George still love another or is his heart completely free?

A trip to Valley Creek holds the answers. Instead, when George and Ella arrive, they encounter obstacles that force other truths to the surface. Is George brave enough to confront what he fled in New York? Can Ella confess why she hates dogwood winters? Will their hearts survive?

If only their pasts would keep out of the present.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

How dependent am I on my independence—my ability to walk and roam freely—or how stubborn am I about getting my own way? This novel causes me to question the secrets I keep and the schemes I make. Dancing around the issues and skirting the drama determine that the distance between hearts might continue to grow to a point where reconciliation is no longer an option.

Candace West puts her characters through devastating predicaments—ones that leave scars and changes, causing them to reach beyond physical and emotional barriers. If they want a means to overcome and live within the circumstances of life, they must find the source and strength from God. When was the last time I struggles and finally had to turn it all over to the only One who could make a difference—a huge, life-changing step toward a powerful, purposeful existence?

About the Author

Author pic

Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. At twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” In 2018, she published her debut novel Lane Steen, book one of the Valley Creek Redemption Series. By weaving entertaining, hope-filled stories, Candace shares the Gospel and encourages her readers. She currently lives in Arkansas with her husband and their son along with two dogs and three bossy cats.

More from Candace

Biscuits and gravy has been a staple for generations in my family. It’s perfect for any occasion or breakfast, dinner, and supper. Yes, in our neck of the woods, dinner is lunch, and supper is—well, supper.

And then, we have biscuits and gravy with a twist. We’ll shove the traditional aside for a bowl of chocolate gravy. That’s right, chocolate.

Now, don’t get grossed out. Some people believe chocolate gravy is this weird, mysterious concoction made with meat grease. It’s the gravy part that boggles their mind, but it’s actually straightforward and easy—not true gravy at all. Trust me, if you like chocolate, you’ll want to try this. When you butter a biscuit and drizzle the chocolate over it, you’ll get a little taste of heaven on earth.

And you’ll get a little taste of the Appalachians and Ozarks.

My grandparents, both raised deep in the Arkansas Ozarks, were raised on “chocolate an’ biscuits” and passed the recipe down to us. Throughout the mountains and in pockets throughout the country, you’ll find this lesser-known treat on kitchen tables and family gatherings.

Every recipe is a little different. Every family has their own special way of making it. My family likes their chocolate gravy a little thinner while my husband’s family wants theirs to be the consistency of pudding.

In Dogwood Winter, my characters would’ve eaten chocolate an’ biscuits. Their corner of the Ozarks is famous for it. I can see Ella and George, along with the Steen family, gathering around a table, saying the blessing, and passing the fare to each other. The only skeptical one in the bunch would be George, a New Yorker who wasn’t raised on it. One bite would make him a believer.

Have you ever eaten biscuits and chocolate gravy? If not, would you try it?

This is our family recipe.

Chocolate Gravy

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tbs Hershey Cocoa powder

2 ½ tbs flour

Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan

Add 1 ½ to 2 cups of milk (depends on the thickness you want)

Bring to a boil and cook until thickened (3 or 4 minutes) Note: Bring to a slow boil and continually stir. Remove from heat then add 2 tbs butter and 1 tsp of Vanilla extract. Pour over buttered biscuits and enjoy!

Blog Stops

deb’s Book Review, August 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Connect in Fiction, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

For Him and My Family, August 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 30

Reviewingbooksplusmore, August 30

Connie’s History Classroom, August 31

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 1

Texas Book-aholic, September 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 3

Daysong Reflections, September 4

Britt Reads Fiction, September 4

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 6

Life, Love, Writing, September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Candace is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1161b/dogwood-winter-celebration-tour-giveaway

Review and Giveaway Flipping Hearts

About the Book

When a hurricane rips through Hooper Island, a tidal wave of TV crews follows and upsets the locals.

Brooks Crawforth agreed to volunteer crews helping to clean up and repair things on the island, not a whole home and garden series on the total renovation of several houses and a bit of cleanup on the side. He’s furious, and the show host is spitting nails at the person who blew it in the first place.

His and his father’s jobs are in jeopardy, the islanders are about to kill him, and that crazy show host blames him for her assistant’s last-minute, “you’ve-got-to-sign-this-now-or-we-can’t-come” contract.

One more thing. Did she have to be so cute?

He’s got even more trouble, though. Islanders are starting to blame Mallory Barrows for the invasion. Not only that, there are rumors of dismantling the association and allowing tourism on the islands. How’s he supposed to fix this mess?

They can’t stand each other, but if they can manage to flip off the enemy switch and flip on some cooperation, maybe their hearts’ll get flipped, too.

This “enemies to romance” novel introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Back to the islands with my friends, gathering after a storm with Bailey bringing a storm of trouble and baggage. As she unloads her crew and equipment, somehow her emotions, quirks, and fears combined with someone’s vindictive actions dump mayhem on the islanders.

As in our lives, some projects are born doomed. Do we pursue them or admit defeat? Who controls our decisions? It’s hard to let others in to help, yet God sends those people alongside us for a reason. At times, it takes adjustment and trust on our part to let them anywhere close to the real issues.

If you haven’t read any of the Independence Islands series, start today! These characters have become close friends of mine. Enjoy the journey, soaking up mystery and romance.

About the Author

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

How I Almost Missed This Important Life Lesson

He annoyed her. The guy was bossy, demanding, rude, and unwilling to admit fault—mostly. Truth be told, she was pretty much the same. Two people with similar faults. The relationship would never happen.

Now what was I supposed to do?

Without any idea how I’d take two near enemies and turn them into a couple, I kept writing the primary story—the one that was supposed to bring them together. The one that would have driven me far, far away from a guy like Brooks.

Right about the time I thought about that is when Bailey had her revelation. “He likes me.”

I nearly did a spit take. I mean, where did that come from? Why would he like someone who hadn’t bothered to be likeable?

And still the story unfolded. “Life or death” moment? Check. Unintentional sharing of attraction and heart. Check. Still confused author as these characters draw closer and closer… check, check!

It took until after the story’s climax for me to realize that Brooks really did like Bailey for who she was—and vice versa. Only after all that tension diffused and their distrust had been smashed to smithereens were Bailey and Brooks able to examine everything. Only after that was I able to realize a truth I hadn’t expected to learn.

People fall in love with people they argue with.

People in love argue. See, my husband and I don’t do that. We don’t argue. Ever. Do we agree on every little thing? No. We just don’t argue about it.

Look, it’s not like I’ve never written people who argue. I do. But Never have I looked at a fictional relationship, seen that it would produce the kind fireworks that Bailey and Brooks will, and thought, “Oh, they’re perfect for each other.”

Because see… if I were Bailey, I’d run. Fast. Conflict is a natural part of life and relationships, and I’m not so naïve as to think it’ll never occur. But entering a relationship knowing it’ll be a regular occurrence? Unthinkable!

So as I pondered all this during those last pages of the book, something hit me.

Jesus enters a rocky relationship with us. Willingly.

Don’t believe me? Think about it. Jesus knew, before He ever spoke light into existence, that His bride would blame Him for… pretty much everything. He knew she’d get him brutally murdered. He knew she’d rail at Him, spit at Him, abandon Him, cheat on Him, and even after forgiveness… she’d do it all over again the next day.

Even knowing all that… He still whispers to our hearts, “Be Mine. I love you.”

If that’s not the most beautiful, unbelievable, amazing thing, I don’t know what is.

It’s probably one of the most important life lessons I’ll ever learn. People choose to be in relationships with people they know they’ll argue with—people who will hurt them, annoy them, demand things of them. And the greatest example of One who does it so beautifully is Jesus. Because see… Jesus entered that relationship with me, knowing I’d be that person. Humbling, yeah. Important life lesson? Most definitely.

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, August 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 23

Texas Book-aholic, August 24

CarpeDiem, August 24

Lots of Helpers, August 25

Inklings and notions, August 25

For Him and My Family, August 26

Connect in Fiction, August 26

deb’s Book Review, August 27

Livin’ Lit, August 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Blogging With Carol, August 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 29

Simple Harvest Reads, August 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 30

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 30

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 31

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 31

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 1

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Blossoms and Blessings, September 3

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 4

She Lives To Read, September 5

Kayem Reads, September 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/11422/flipping-hearts-celebration-tour-giveaway

Giveaway August 26-31

I almost let August get away from me. My giveaway this month is Wait for Me and Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller.

Wait for Me is book five in my Revolutionary Faith Series set in Charles Town, 1777-1782. This finale contains all the beloved characters as they face the end of the American Revolution.

Winning Miss Winthrop is book one in the Regency Brides A Promise of Hope series by Carolyn Miller set in 1816 England.

Please leave a comment about what you are reading or plan to read. Or about anything on your mind….

Make sure you respond by August 31!

Butterflies and Zinnias

My year is full of butterflies and zinnias (and sunflowers and bumble bees)! I know each year when August rolls around that beauty will continue to burst forth as the intricately-patterned, winged masterpieces flit from a myriad of colored heads, gaining nectar and nourishment. They are holding on to summer, prolonging the hot, muggy days and enjoying the pollen after the afternoon showers.

And I watch while venturing into the heat that I wish away, not realizing I’m sending them away with my selfish thoughts. My dog and cats sleep in the shade or inside in the cool air desiring the fall breeze too.

I know summer is ending when school starts. My online roster zooms to 250 students “eager” to learn Spanish and French. As my garden wilts—the vegetables and lilies gone for the season—my “lazy” days change to full agendas. Am I ready? Part of me wants the butterflies and zinnias to stay—to prolong the season.

Yet, God ordained the changes for a purpose. As the fall lurks close by, I can almost smell the cool breeze—Almost! I make my fall plans including what to write, read, and edit. I add weekend adventures, always pleasant in the crisp weather. Ideas for Christmas gifts and activities creep into my day planner.

Good-bye summer. Oh…not yet.

My butterflies and zinnias tell a different story as they have a tenacious hold on the season for another month. I’ll take my cues from them and enjoy the slow days of the season.

What season do you enjoy most?

Multi-author Giveaway Summer Book Lover’s Day

Hello Readers!

Summer Book Lover’s Day is August 9 and we are Celebrating ALL WEEK with a HUGE giveaway! 

I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular prize of over 35 books or a $500 Amazon gift card to buy books you love to hold you over until Christmas!

Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit’s 2nd Annual Summer Book Lover’s Multi-Author Giveaway going on now through August 15.

Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/10ec7/2021-summer-book-lover-s-day

FYI I’m giving away Hold Me Close, Book One in my Revolutionary Faith Series!

Review and Giveaway The Scarlet Pen

About the Book

Book:  The Scarlet Pen

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release date: July 2021

Engaged to a Monster

Book 12 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Enjoy a tale of true but forgotten history of a 19th century serial killer whose silver-tongued ways almost trap a young woman into a nightmarish marriage.

In 1876, Emma Draycott is charmed into a quick engagement with childhood friend Stephen Dee Richards after reconnecting with him at a church event in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. But within the week, Stephen leaves to “make his fame and fortune.” The heartbroken Emma gives him a special pen to write to her, and he does with tales of grand adventures. Secret Service agent Clay Timmons arrives in Mount Pleasant to track purchases made with fake currency. Every trail leads back to Stephen—and therefore, Emma. Can he convince the naive woman she is engaged to a charlatan who is being linked a string of deaths in Nebraska?

Click here to get your copy!


My Review

I enjoy this series of mystery and true crime, although it is haunting at times. As I read fact-based fiction, I’m amazed at the deviances of the human psyche to commit such crimes.

This installment is true to form as heinous, senseless murders pepper the pages. Thankfully, love and mercy are stronger. As the stories of these characters collide, so do the hearts of the good citizens. God allows good to seep into evil situations. Perhaps that is why I enjoy this series, for I see our God of love, power, and promise at work, challenging me to seek the best solutions. Where does He want me to help?

About the Author

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Hello, Readers! For all who might never have read one of my stories or come across me, it’s great to meet you! I’m a wife, a mom, a (young!) grandma, and an author—among many other things. My author tagline is “Where Grit Meets Grace.” If you’re familiar with my writing at all, you’ll know that most of my stories at least touch on a bit of the difficult side of life. Death, abandonment, war, addiction, or who knows what else you might find. The Scarlet Pen is no different.

Given that this novel is the final installment in Barbour’s True Colors series, the story revolves around a true crime from history—in this case, the murders of serial killer Stephen Dee Richards—AKA the Nebraska Fiend. Anytime you’re dealing with someone so depraved as he, you’ll find plenty of “grit” to write about. But that’s only half of my tagline. Remember, it’s “Where Grit Meets Grace.

While I love a story that delves into difficult topics and, in some cases, pushes the characters right to the edge of what they can handle, I also love a truly redemptive story. When I was asked to write for this series, the ideas that drew me the most were the ones that had something redeeming in the actual history. There were plenty of interesting historical killers I could’ve chosen where I could have manufactured a positive, even happy ending through the fictional characters in the book. In the case of Stephen Dee Richards, there was no manufacturing needed. The “grace” part was already written. The end of Stephen’s story is precisely why I chose to write about him. I hope you’ll find it as though-provoking and compelling as I did. Happy reading!

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, July 29

Genesis 5020, July 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

For Him and My Family, July 30

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 30 (Author Interview)

Christian Bookaholic, July 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 31

Inklings and notions, July 31

Britt Reads Fiction, July 31

Remembrancy, August 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Betti Mace, August 2

Rebecca Tews, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 3

Blogging With Carol , August 3

Older & Smarter?, August 4

Connie’s History Classroom, August 4

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 5

Bigreadersite, August 5

Godly Book Reviews, August 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 7

Back Porch Reads, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Through the fire blogs, August 8

sodbuster living, August 8

Connect in Fiction, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 9

Texas Book-aholic, August 9

KarenSueHadley, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 10

For the Love of Literature, August 10

Blossoms and Blessings, August 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 11

Spoken from the Heart, August 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Scarlet Pen!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/110e0/the-scarlet-pen-celebration-tour-giveaway

Review and Giveaway The Dollmaker’s Daughter

The Dollmaker's Daughter

About the Book

Book:  The Dollmaker’s Daughter

Author: Izzy James

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: July 16, 2021

9781522303473

Forgetful scientist Simon Morgan lost his chance with Amity Archer ten years ago. He knows there is no hope…until a sea captain trades a meal for an ancient stone reputed to have the power to give him his heart’s desire. Immediately after pocketing the stone, Simon runs into Amity. Did the ancient artifact cause this chance encounter or was it mere coincidence?

Like her favorite travel writer Mrs. Peabody, Amity Archer yearns for adventure, but she’s horrified when her father asks Simon Morgan to escort her on her first real adventure.

With Amity’s Aunt Clementine as a buffer between them, will Simon be able to prove that his love for Amity is real? Can Amity show Sim on that her love for him has nothing to do with a so-called magical rock?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Do we ever know what the journey will entail or cost?

1776 A curious would-be-writer and storyteller desires to interview soldiers and families for her stories. Her father agrees to her request to accompany him on his journey to Williamsburg and secures a friend of the family to escort her and her aunt to parties and to the mountains.

Just call me Amity! I, too, want to “explore the world she had yet to see.” I always have. My natural curiosity drives me to travel to new places and revisit previous favorites. But would I do it during volatile times like 1776 in the colonies? Would seeing the mountains be worth the risk? Plus, highwaymen and wayside inns? All for a story to write? I have traveled in unsure circumstances such as right after 9/11 or during Paris riots or through Munich after a bombing or during a hurricane. So, yes, the desire to travel does not disappear just because outside circumstances change.

Yet, coming home always holds greater appeal. There’s something about the steadfast, permanence of home.

About the Author

IzzyJames

Izzy James lives in coastal Virginia with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

More from Izzy

I am a Geographer by degree. So maps and the shapes of the earth fascinate me. It keeps me looking at the ground. Where I live in Virginia we still travel the imprint of colonial roads. Former villages have been swallowed by large urban areas, but the land is still there. Amity Archer travels these roads on the adventure to love in The Dollmaker’s Daughter.

It makes The Dollmaker’s Daughter special to me. I have traveled the roads Amity and Simon cover many, many times. The research for this book kept me up nights reading true accounts of traveler and taverns in colonial times.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 7

By The Book, August 8 (Author Interview)

Connect in Fiction, August 8

Inklings and notions, August 9

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 10

Abba’s Prayer Princess, August 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 12

Beauty in the Binding, August 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 13

For Him and My Family, August 14

Texas Book-aholic, August 15

Connie’s History Classroom, August 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 18

deb’s Book Review, August 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Izzy is giving away the grand prize package of an eBook copy of The Dollmaker’s Daughter and a tea cup!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/111b4/the-dollmaker-s-daughter-celebration-tour-giveaway

Review and Giveaway The Last Gasp

The Last Gasp

About the Book

Book:  The Last Gasp

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: ChristianHistorical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: July 6, 2021

1-The Last Gasp

At the pinnacle of his Hollywood career, Garrison Prince’s reign ends tonight.

As plain old Gary Prinz, he can pursue his Bible education, buy a bungalow in Pasadena, acquire a few chickens, and marry the girl of his dreams. He just never imagined trading the silver screen for a pulpit would wreak such havoc.

A cigarillo girl, Lucinda Ashton spends her days with her boyfriend, Gary, and her evenings selling candy and “gaspers” to the Hollywood elite at the Taj Mahal Theater.

However, when gunshots ring out just as intermission begins, Lucinda finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a brouhaha that leaves three dead, and no one has a clue why.

All the police know is that the evidence points to Lucinda as the killer and Gary as the intended target.

Four new friends, one young orphan, and a potluck of clues that don’t seem to fit anywhere leave the police baffled, Lucinda in fear for her freedom, and Gary ready to trade in his acting shoes for gumshoes if it’ll save his “Cinda.”

The first book in the Ever After Mysteries combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries, The Last Gasp. This Cinderella retelling blends a murder with enough crime and story clues to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

A new who-dun-it fairy tale series. The twisting and turning left me guessing with anticipation. Complete with a shoe, a prince, and Cinda, this retelling captivated my attention with the author’s superb imagination and detective skills.

The setting is the 1920s, Beverly Hills with the newness of the moving pictures and the promise of new film inventions on the horizon. Money and glamor surrounded the industry and the stars. Enough for murder and mystery? Bang. Bang. Bang. You’ll have to read this riveting novel and throw your guess onto the stage to mingle with others. Will you be correct? Was I? No spoilers here.

Bravo, Chautona!

About the Author

media-headshot-sm

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

What Beautiful, Unexpected Parallel Did I Find Writing this Mystery?

I bought it at Pic-n-Save when I was eleven—an 8.5×11 paperback book of traditional fairy tales. I learned another side of the age-old stories that you don’t see from Disney. Rapunzel? Yeah. That was the story about the queen who was craving rampion (a salad vegetable) so much that she promised to give up her child for it. Rampion—Rapunzel. It’s a thing.

It’s also where I learned Cinderella’s name as “Aschenputtel.” Look, those Brothers Grimm were… well, they were German and that should explain everything. “Puttel” just sings of German, doesn’t it? That tale was also a bit gruesome. The one sister cut off her big toe to make the shoe fit because her mother said, “You won’t have to walk anywhere if you’re a queen. Who needs it!” So the idiotic girl did. Same for the other sister and her heel. Seriously, didn’t she learn from her older sister?

Oh, and it’s the one where mother and stepsisters get their eyes picked out by birds. It reminded me of Proverbs 30:17. “The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”

Talk about bringing Scripture to life for kids there. *Gulp*

True confession, our kids used to sing that verse to the tune of “All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus’ Name.” You should have heard the lusty voices of our children in our Grand Marquis station wagon (may the wonderful beast rest in peace) singing, “The ravens shall pick out his eyes and eeee-agles eeee-eeaat the saaaammmme!”

I digress.

Cinderella—I mean, Aschenputtel—really wasn’t my favorite story, though. I liked other stories from other books. Like the Ten Brothers—a Chinese folk tale. You know. Fairy tale.

Know which fairy tale I liked even less than Cinderella?

The Little Mermaid. Seriously, I didn’t like the original (Sorry Mr. Andersen… I just didn’t), and I can’t stand Disney’s. But when we first began planning the Ever After Mysteries, I knew which one I wanted to do. The Little Mermaid had everything going for it. Houdini and a water tank. Can’t you just see it? It would have been great. But a friend asked who was writing about the “cigarillo girl” (as I mention in THIS post), and well… the rest is history. Or at least, it’s set back in history.

But there’s one truth I discovered as I wrote this mystery.

Mystery… that’s a good word for this truth, actually. Cinderella is a beautiful picture of Jesus as our prince. We can be His bride and put on the shoe He has fashioned only to fit us, or we can try to snatch it up and make it suit our wills and hold our overgrown egos (work with me here). He takes us out of our ragged, dirty lives and brings us home… to Him. To His Father.

Is there anything more beautiful? I don’t think so.

In The Last Gasp, Gary knows Cinda long before she knows him—truly knows him. He loves her just as she is. Is it a perfect retelling of the beauty of Christ’s love for his church? Not hardly. It wasn’t intended to demonstrate that relationship at all. But there are tiny nuances that do. And that’s pretty cool.

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, August 2

For Him and My Family, August 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 3 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, August 4

Inklings and notions, August 4

deb’s Book Review, August 5

CarpeDiem, August 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 6

Connect in Fiction, August 6

Texas Book-aholic, August 7

Blogging With Carol, August 7

She Lives To Read, August 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 8

Connie’s History Classroom, August 9

Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 11

The Meanderings of a Bookworm , August 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 12

Splashes of Joy, August 13

Mary Hake, August 13

For the Love of Literature, August 14

Back Porch Reads, August 14

Through the Fire Blogs, August 15

Mamma loves books, August 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of copy of the book and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/11420/the-last-gasp-celebration-tour-giveaway

My New Release coming soon–Labor of Love

Are you ready for the cover reveal? I’m so excited! I’ve waited a long time to release the first in my Gardens in Time novels. Labor of Love has been a labor of love, straight from my heart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it. For this series I chose four gardens in four different eras and countries with unique characters and plots. Labor of Love will release in February 2022. You have an opportunity to preorder your eBook copy and free short story from the publisher with this link: http://www.celebratelitpublishing.com/posts/book/labor-of-love/

Once again Roseanna White has designed a beautiful cover. Celebrate Lit Publishing has made this journey a joy! I cannot wait to hold my copy. February seems so far away…

Here is the backcover copy about the book:

Something sinister lurks in Pitti Palace.

Despite having spent eight years as companion to her cousins, Ana Geovani still questions her role and place in the Medici household. This uncertainty compounds and alarms as her cousin’s marriage approaches and a marriage is arranged for Ana.

With no say in her own future, fear and despair dulls even the splendor of the gardens she holds so dear.

As the newest under gardener at the palace, Marco Rossi should have everything he’s dreamed of–beautiful gardens to tend and master architects and gardeners to learn from. Yet a secret mission threatens his peace of mind, his position, and even the love of Ana. Although God is always with him, reminding him of a bigger plan, Marco feels the weight of the consequences he will face if he challenges a Medici member.

The desires of men and women, both royal and common, create costly dilemmas and potential disasters of hearts and souls. What will it take for Marco and Ana to prevail against everything driving them apart?

Reserve your copy today and stay connected for future updates! Leave your comments about the cover and the plot!