Review and Giveaway A Giant Murder

About the Book

Book:  A Giant Murder

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: ChristianHistorical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: August 3, 2021

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert?  His wife?  His son, Jack?  What about Harper Davis?  Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet!

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

The second fairy tale mystery in the series. This one is a new-to-me author. 1920s Dallas weaves its historic secrets as a murderer wanders the streets, seeking answers harbored by innocent carriers. The elements of this mystery coerce the reader to search for answers from the clues scattered in the rubble. New chaos creates different tactics if the murderer is ever to be discovered.

I love wandering the old streets of Dallas with the characters. Familiar with the present-day city, I see the historic scene from experience. My children were born in Dallas. I’ve attended First Baptist Church and explored the parks and museums. The city, past and present, offers a world of activity and adventure. Bravo for Marji Laine’s accurate depiction of a favorite American city. Thank you for hours of entertainment, following the clues along the trail of inspiring words.

About the Author

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. You can find her at her website: MarjiLaine.com

More from Marji

I so enjoyed researching the history of downtown Dallas as I crafted my story, A GIANT MURDER. The house that I chose for Josie and her mom is actually still there on Haskell Avenue. The photo with the wrought iron is about twenty years old, but the house was built circa 1914. The photo with the wooden fence is from last year, after a big remodel. This house was also the setting of another of my books. It and the field that used to be next to it was an after-school child care center in AIN’T MISBEHAVING.

Thinking about what life might have been like in this house in the twenties, I can’t help but think about my grandparents. They were teenagers at the time of my story – 1926 – and while my grandfather grew up in, what was then, a little farming town called Paris, Texas, my grandmother grew up in Oak Cliff, just across the bridge over the Trinity River from this house in downtown Dallas.

Makes the research that I did on this era even that much more special. Having come through COVID, I realize that my great-grandparents had to nurture their preteens and teenagers through the Spanish Flu that devastated whole communities. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

All of this reminiscing sent me to an old recipe book that had been a wedding present for me from my mom almost thirty-five years ago. In the dessert section near the back, I found a precious recipe for Date Candy that had come by way of my great-grandmother, Carrie Ethel Leatherwood Morin. I never met her, but I do remember hearing from my mom that she was a woman of faith, and I have a poem she wrote late in life, about growing up in the country.

I would say this is a 1920s recipe, but who could tell? She was a middle-aged mom at that point, so it’s a good bet.

Date Candy

1 box – light brown sugar

4 T – corn syrup

½ pt – whipping cream

1 cup – dates

1 cup – pecans

1 t – vanilla

Mix sugar, syrup, and cream. Cook until almost a hard ball. Just before removing from pan, put in dates and stir until they melt. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until almost hard – then add pecans. Wet a cup towel. Pour mixture onto cup towel and roll into a roll. Let it cool – firm – then slice.

Let me know if you decide to make my great-grandmother’s candy. I’d love to find out how it turned out!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

For the Love of Literature, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 19 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

For Him and My Family, September 20

deb’s Book Review, September 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 23

Connie’s History Classroom, September 24

Simple Harvest Reads, September 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 25

Mary Hake, September 25

Rebecca Tews, September 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Through the fire blogs, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Back Porch Reads, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marji is giving away the grand prize package of a $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/119f5/a-giant-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Fall Reading Stack

Yes, it is officially fall, and I have so many books to read. Usually, I share all the print books that I have in a huge stack in my room. Today, I want to begin with two eBooks that I am presently reading. For the past two years, I have spent as much or more time reading on my iPad, yet they don’t make my quarterly TBR (to be read) blog.

The two eBooks are by friends of mine. Seasoned Grace by Melissa Wardwell is part of the Independence Island Series. The first two pages of this contemporary novel engages the reader in an emotional journey of healing. The second book is Great Lakes Light by Kari Trumbo. Her words reach into a world of great loss. I’m looking forward to this historical sojourn.

It’s time for a few Christmas stories. Pepper Basham has a beautiful novel, The Mistletoe Countess, taking the reader to 1913 with this question “Can the wrong bride lead to the right romance?” Garrett, a novella by Izzy James, is a time travel event back to 1769!

 Somehow, I missed reading Restoring Fairhaven by Carolyn Miller. It is part of the Independence Island Series. I look forward to going back to Merriweather Island. Next is a princess novel by Jody Hedlund, Beguiled. This is a Snow White Story!

C.D. Sutherland’s The Dragoneers will take the reader to a world of dragons and an imaginary world blended with fact and fiction. Finally, I have my hands on Setting Two Hearts Free by Janet Grunst. This historical fiction brings to life a period in our American history that is vital, the American Revolution.

What are you reading this fall?

Review and Giveaway Dinah’s Dilemma

About the Book

Book: Dinah’s Dilemma

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: August 15, 2020

Will she have to run from the past for the rest of her life?

Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife.

As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

1870—Combining a mail order bride with secrets and an ex-Pinkerton agent gives the reader ample opportunity to experience drama on a Nebraska farm. The Civil War is over, leaving a trail of grief and upsetting memories. But mush is at stake, including the well-being of an innocent three-year-old girl.

None of us can choose our families, nor can we guarantee the mischief that individuals cause will not affect us. Yet, each of us is a separate, individual child of God, responsible for our own actions. Even if no one else can separate the good members from the bad, God can. He is capable of turning a miserable situation with ugly strings attached, waiting for the wrong person to pull them, into a beautiful, purposeful life. Follow Dinah into her world of flight across the country, hopefully far away from trouble.

Linda Matchett never disappoints.

About the Author

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

More from Linda

Dear Reader,

As a novelist, I write about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. And to me, nothing is more extraordinary than leaving all that you know to travel a great distance (often thousands of miles) to marry a man you’ve never met. Don’t you agree?

During the initial settlement of the American West, the population was primarily composed of men. Men who went in search of gold, to seek new opportunities in farming and ranching, or to make a fresh start where land and resources seemed unlimited. Eventually, loneliness set in for those who were single, yet there was a dearth of suitable women to marry.

The conundrum for the men was how to meet and court a woman without leaving for fear of someone taking their land or claims. Some of the bachelors wrote home asking friends and family for referrals to single women who would make a good wife. Courtship would take place via correspondence until the couple decided they were suited to marry. The more common scenario was that of mail-order brides.

Ads were placed by the men in eastern newspapers. They would tell a bit about themselves and what traits they were seeking in a wife. Interested women would reply, and the advertiser would respond to the applicant he thought was a good fit. As with those men who wrote home to find a mate, the process was much the same with courtship occurring through letters.

Most of the time, the marriages went smoothly, with the couple falling in love, resulting in a long and happy relationship. However, there are stories of marriages that did not survive because of abandonment, abuse, death, or the discovery of a still-living spouse. A few incidents are recorded about mail-order brides whose groom paid her railway passage, only for her to marry someone else because he seemed a better prospect. Fortunately, those instances seem to make up a small percentage.

I hope you enjoy Dinah’s Dilemma: A Mail-Order Bride Romance.

Blessings,

Linda Shenton Matchett

Blog Stops

Blossoms and Blessings, September 14

Mary Hake, September 14

Labor Not in Vain, September 15

Texas Book-aholic, September 16

Inklings and notions, September 17

For Him and My Family, September 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 21

Connect in Fiction, September 22

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Vicky Sluiter, September 25

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 25

Connie’s History Classroom, September 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of a Book Journal, Floral Book Plates, Bookjigs Bookmark, a $25 Visa Gift Card, and an autographed paperback edition of Dinah’s Dilemma!!

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/11826/dinah-s-dilemma-celebration-tour-giveaway

What do you like best about reading?

I finished an awesome book recently—The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin. It has left a unique impression on me with all of the truisms about books and readers. A question in the book from one character to another is “What do you like best about reading?” This question in the novel comes from a non-reader to someone who devours books as an avid pastime. I loved the question so much that I posed it on a social media group. The answers were inspiring and as individualized as the individual.

How do you answer that question?

There is no way I could give just one answer. I’ll satisfy your curiosity or spark your own list with a few of mine:

** adventure

** love story

** information

** historical journey

** dreams

** fairytale life

** royalty

** heroes and heroines

** reality check

** inspiration

** second chances

** mystery

** escape

** entertainment

** relaxation

Maybe I left a few for you to consider. Why do you read? Let me know in a comment.

Blessings and happy reading!

Multi-author Giveaway Back to School

Hello Readers!

Kids are heading back to school, and the weather is turning cooler which means there is more time for reading!

I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular prize of over 50 books or a $500 Amazon gift card to buy books you love to build up that TBR pile! 

Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit’s Back to School Multi-Author Giveaway going on now through September 18. 

Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/112d2/3rd-annual-back-to-school-multi-author

My giveaway is a copy of Surround Me. I hope you enter! I wish I could….

Review and Giveaway Save the Date

Save the Date

About the Book

Book: Save the Date

Author: Hallee Bridgeman  (Author), Kari Trumbo  (Author), T.K. Chapin  (Author), Chautona Havig  (Author), Shoshanna Gabriel  (Author), Dori Harrell (Author), Liwen Y. Ho  (Author), Lisa M. Prysock (Author), Camy Tang  (Author), Jan Thompson  (Author), Marion Ueckermann  (Author), Jaycee Weaver  (Author)

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release date: October 12, 2021

Save the Date cover

Weddings for every season and occasion. Adventures, mishaps, and dream destinations—this collection has it all!
As our guest of honor, you’re cordially invited on a journey through twelve heartwarming and inspirational novellas that will take you from small-town America to romantic Paris, from the sunny shores of Hawaii to New Zealand. Office romances, friends-to-lovers, second chances, and more await you in these stories full of forgiveness, redemption, laughter, and love.
Say “I do” and claim your copy of this limited-time anthology by your favorite USA Today and bestselling Christian romance authors!
January Hope by Kari Trumbo
Clothing historian Cleo goes on the hunt for an 1880s fashion magazine wedding dress. Discovering it’s part of a museum collection, her biggest obstacle is handsome curator Lowel. Unfortunately, his no-touch policy just might put a stop to her hunt and her heart.
A Valentine for Veronica by Lisa Prysock
Veronica purchased her dream wedding dress though she’s single. When an encounter with a former peer—now a wedding magazine photojournalist—entices her into doing a special feature, the pressure is on to find a husband. Will Veronica’s pride be her downfall, or will her faith lead to love?
I Take You by Marion Ueckermann
Since childhood, Kaia has dreamed about her fairy-tale wedding. But when her father’s choices crush Kaia’s dreams, her fiancé is left scrambling for a solution to their dilemma. Kaia doesn’t want to delay their wedding, and neither does Leo. He’s waited a lifetime to make Kaia his wife.
Adoring April by Chautona Havig
Whoever heard of a church expecting an incoming minister to marry their only single member as a condition for employment? Legality aside, what kind of woman would possibly agree to such a crazy idea? What’ll it take for Jesse to go from avoiding April to adoring April?
A Change of a Dress by Hallee Bridgeman
Belle struggles to bury the past and grasp her elusive future. Scarred by an incredible act of heroism, combat veteran Vince longs to courageously walk the road less traveled as an army chaplain. The two unknowingly cross paths time and again until meeting changes everything.
Time for Me by Jan Thompson
When Sheryl tries to get a world-famous sculptor to display his artwork in her gallery, she doesn’t expect him to fall in love with her in this friends-to-more romance.
The Wedding Dress by T. K. Chapin
Alexa Anderson doesn’t want to wear her mother’s wedding dress when it’s time to marry the love of her life, Brad Jackson. Little does she know, the wedding dress has a story of its own to tell…
The Wedding Kimono by Camy Tang
A tomboy massage therapist and her boss discover a mysterious message hidden in her grandmother’s wedding kimono. Can her family legacy help her to see her inner beauty and open herself up to love?
One Vow for September by Liwen Ho
She’s a writer with an unconventional assignment, he’s the jaded coworker playing her husband; together they’re one odd couple about to find out how real love is.
Braver with You by Jaycee Weaver
She’d follow her childhood sweetheart anywhere, but first they’ll need all her courage and all his support to make it through the wedding their mothers have planned.
Grateful for You by Dori Harrell
Jeans-only Libby hasn’t spoken to lawman Jamie since she turned down his proposal. But when she sees a frothy gown in a store window, she knows he’s the guy for her. But winning him back might mean landing herself in jail.
Countdown to Her Cowboy’s Christmas Wedding by Shoshanna Gabriel
A handsome rancher. The girl next door. A childhood promise comes due that could change their lives… for better or worse. When their Christmas wedding preparations bring out painful memories of heartbreak, will Kate be able to forgive Jay—and herself—so they can finally be together?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I’ve anticipated this book from early this summer. I am not disappointed! I have found new authors to follow. Congratulations to these ladies who have contributed to sharing contemporary, loving relationships in a new fresh light. The world offers confusion and chaos with its drama and constant uncertainty. But love? It still exists and thrives on the unraveling of the unnecessary packaging to expose the wealth of purity and faithfulness within.

Save the Date. Save the book. Save the time to read something special and heartwarming. Finding love at any age is beautiful and meaningful. God has a plan for every stage of life. I want to be the woman who grabs that plan with gusto. Here you will meet women, and men, who take the challenge to grow. Bravo!

About the Authors

The authors of Save the Date joined together for this limited-time collection as an opportunity to bring their readers an excellent reading experience. From California to Kentucky, South Africa to Idaho and everywhere in between, these authors live and write the stories on their hearts to touch the hearts of their readers.

More from Chautona

Why One Epic Wedding Set Is about More Than “Just” Romance

“Oh, they say when you marry in June… you’re a bride all your life…”

When my kids were little, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was a favorite movie, although they used to call it “Dah-dah-dump-dum.” If you’ve never heard “Goin’ Courtin’” then that won’t make sense, but what can I say? Kids. Considering I had seven daughters, it’s no wonder that my kids loved that song sung by girls wearing pantaloons and camisoles the most. My boys never seemed to get that they were watching girls dancing around in their underwear. Much to my relief.

But you know, I’m a desert rat and not a fan of June weddings. Summer weddings are… HOT. I love outdoor weddings and receptions, and they’re miserable here in June, July, August, May… September… To be fair, there are maybe six whole weeks of the entire year that wouldn’t be—too hot, too cold, or just blasting with wind.

The authors of Save the Date all chose their months for different reasons. December, June, and February were obvious favorite choices, but I had three options that called to me. Either April, May, or June. Why? Well, my book title. I needed a woman’s name!

In this collection, you’ll find a couple of marriages of convenience, a friends-to-more, a destination wedding… you name it, we’ve got it. Each author has a meaningful story around the wedding dress, and through the course of each one, we have something especially beautiful.

Love.

I’m not speaking just of love between two characters. In sets like this, beautiful friendships are forged as we write, share, and celebrate. There’s a camaraderie that fills the group with every idea, every milestone, and every frustration.

You’ll also witness one more kind of love—love of craft. See, authors do the long, hard, sometimes tedious work of writing for a reason. We love the creation of characters, settings, and stories that weave all three into a picture that stirs the heart and feeds the soul. You could argue that they are a cheap imitation of the stories God writes on our lives, but because they are an offering to the Lord, they are also beautiful, rich, and a “sweet savor,” or so we hope.

We pray you’ll enjoy your time among the brides of Save the Date. We hope you’ll be blessed.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 4

Texas Book-aholic, September 5

Inklings and notions, September 6

By the Book, September 6

For Him and My Family, September 7

deb’s Book Review, September 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 9

Back Porch Reads, September 9

Connect in Fiction, September 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 11

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 11

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 14

CarpeDiem, September 14

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 15

She Lives To Read, September 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 16

Simple Harvest Reads, September 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 17

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Save the Date authors are giving away the grand prize of 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/11816/save-the-date-celebration-tour-giveaway

Ten-Thousand-Year Plan

So, the title, Ten-Thousand-Year Plan, is a bit daunting. Who does that? I am a planner, I confess. Positive or negative, it must be in my DNA. I cannot go a day without a plan to accomplish something. Now, before you label me a workaholic, my plans might be to read a few chapters in a book or to make a neglected phone call. I know how to rest and relax. So, what if I have to plan to kick back. I do some of that every day.

When I read a devotional about having a ten-thousand-year plan, I anticipated something I could grab hold of and use. The scripture content is I Corinthians 3. In a concise paraphrase: The only things that really count are those that contribute to others’ knowing Christ and being set free by His grace and love.

As a planner, I make lists for what has to get done like the laundry and meals and work. Which never make it to a list. But on my to-do list, I need to convert my thoughts from day-to-day trivialities that offer stress to the ten thousand year thought process. Here is a question to get me started.

What do I focus on and talk about?

If only what I’ve done for the Lord matters, what about all those other things that prompt me to anger or stress or disfunction? Is there any way to tame those bothersome thoughts into the ten-thousand-year plan? If not, I question if they need to be on my lists. Life is full of the mundane through important daily chores. Do I need to add things that in the long term are not important?

If I can (with some practice), I will let go of the trivialities of my day and get on with the plans that make a difference.

How do you separate the trivial from the important?

Dog Days of Summer

Typically, the hottest days of summer in my part of Louisiana are the months of August and September. I never thought about the expression the dog days of summer, until I watched our rescue dog, Tully, during these months. Lots of dog expressions crept into my language such as whoa doggy, doggy bag, It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and His bark is worse than his bite.

But now, as I face another hot month, the dog days of summer have affected my actions too. It’s not Tully’s fault. His lethargic attitude reflects mine. I understand the expression now that I visualize it every day. Tully and I are both longing for a breeze, a reprieve.

My dog day characteristics that mimic my Tully are: laziness, resting mode, low energy, drained, dead tired. I see canine, fur baby and want to spread out on the couch and twitch as I cream under the fan. But I pry my eyes open, stretch, and carry-on in my working persona. Yet, oh to be a dog! (I say the same thing about my cats who sleep sixteen hours a day!)

Although the expression makes total sense describing the hottest, most oppressive summer months in the south, the history of the expressions adds a bit of relevant explanation.

The dog days of summer this year were July 3-August 11. They take place during the time when the sun occupies the same region in the sky as Sirius, the bright star visible from any part of Earth and is part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

Make sense? Whatever the history of the expression, I now have a visual in my Tully as he sleeps during the heat of the day. He and I share the same dreams of catching a cool breeze and chasing a butterfly. He just gets to do it more often than I do.

As the dog days of summer linger, what do you do in anticipation of the fall? I plan, read, organize, and rest in the hammock under the shade tree with my dog. I don’t want him having all the fun.

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