Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop!

There will be a different book given away at each of the stops. At the bottom of this post are all the sites participating in the book hop. Make sure to visit (and follow) everyone and enter their giveaways! :-)

So, on to my part in the hop!

I am giving away a trade paperback of Heartbreak Cafe by Penelope Stokes. Simply leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you...and if you choose to follow my blog I'll enter you in my giveaway twice. Good luck and have fun!!!

A touching novel full of Southern comfort for fans of Joshilyn Jackson and Fannie Flagg.Dell Haley's mama always said there were two things a man couldn't get enough of: good cookin' and good lovin'. Well, Dell knows she's got the cookin' down pat, but her husband is getting more than his fair share of lovin'-in another woman's bed. And when he dies there, Dell's predictable life comes to a screeching halt. Short on money and education, Dell turns to the one thing that has never let her down: her cooking. For the first time in her life, Dell takes a huge risk and opens a restaurant in a derelict diner on the west end of town. The cafe gradually becomes a gathering place for a motley crew of people who become Dell's family. And yet, even as her life becomes more solid, Dell is plagued by the memory of her husband's betrayal-but the answers she seeks may have a higher price than she's willing to pay.

Cats and Cowboys

Lanna Kirby and her cat, Gordon, flee Indiana when her racecar-driver boyfriend publicly humiliates her. A job in a small Texas post office seems far enough away and a good place to start over. Lanna’s through with men, for sure. That is, until a handsome cow-boy strolls in.

Jackson Harrington is a cowboy who loves his ranch, but wishes he had someone special to share it with. Lanna gets under his skin in lots of ways, but that's not all. Jackson hates cats!

Will they be able to ignore each other and their growing attraction, or will one of them get over being stubborn and give in?
This story is too adorable for words. Lanna is a cat fanatic after my own heart, her chubby orange fur baby Gordon the feline love of her life. Who needs a man around, especially *gasp* a cat hater??? This little gem is sure to make any ailurophile purr.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fool for Love

Call her a fool, but chef-in-training Chloe Madison wants to have her cake and eat it too. So when her boyfriend dumps her for some French tart, she decides to start over from scratch—with a new life and job in Sugar Creek, Vermont. What could be sweeter than cooking for an eccentric lady who’s crazy for desserts? What could be more tempting than joining a club called the Cupcake Lovers? Just one thing: local business-hunk Devlin Monroe…

Although he’s  the grandson of Chloe’s fun-loving boss, Devlin Monroe is all work and no play. Micro-managing the family business, he doesn’t have time to indulge in life’s  sweetest pleasures—until he meets Chloe. How can he resist such a vibrant, beautiful woman who brings so much passion to the table? But when old grudges and secrets threaten to destroy the Cupcake Lovers, Devlin must decide if his feelings for Chloe are a recipe for disaster—or a sinfully delicious ever-after…
This book has made me fall in love with my home state all over again. From general stores to cell phone difficulties to moose, Beth Ciotta has captured living in small town Vermont perfectly.
I was so fortunate to get an early copy of this book. From the beginning Chloe felt like she would be a really good girlfriend. As she leaves her old life behind to pick up the pieces of her broken heart in Sugar Creek, Vermont, she takes a job as a companion to Devlin Monroe's grandmother Daisy. Daisy is an absolute hoot, and she manages to get Chloe into soooo much trouble, much to Dev's chagrin. Slowly but surely though, Chloe manages to steal Dev's heart and make him realize what's important in life.
Chloe also ends up involved in the lives of the various members of the Cupcake Lovers Club, an organization that raises money for various causes and bakes up some yummy cupcakes at the same time. It will be so much fun to see some of these characters get their own books.
As a moose fanatic, a big smile stretched across my face when one of the critters ended up playing an important role in the story, and I can't wait to read more about Sugar Creek's new Internet cafe!
Anyone who enjoys small town, contemporary romance can't go wrong with this delicious new series. It's heartwarming, fun, and just plain scrumptious!

Monday, August 27, 2012

eFestival Winners 99 Cent Sale

Readers! Eight award winners in the 2012 eFestival of Words "Best of the Independent eBook Awards" have grouped together to offer you an amazing opportunity. They've reduced the prices of their award-winning novels to99 centsfor August 27 and 28th!
Whether you like to read mysteries, romance, horror, young adult, women's fiction, or fantasy, this group has it. Are you a writer yourself? Do you want to learn all about digitally publishing your next masterpiece? They've got you covered there too.
Get all eight award-winning ebooks for the price of one single paperback!

Award Winners
Best Mystery/Suspense:Dead is the New Blackby Christine DeMaio-Rice
Best Non-Fiction: DIY/Self-Help: Let's Get Digitalby David Gaughran
Best Horror:61 David McAfee
Best Romance:Deadly ObsessionbyKristine Cayne
Best Young Adult:The Book of Lost Soulsby Michelle Muto
Best Fantasy/Urban FantasyandBest Novel: The Black God's Warby Moses Siregar III
Best Chick Lit/Women's Lit:Carpe Bead'emby Tonya Kappes
Award for Best Twist("I've Been Shyamalaned"): The Survival of Thomas Fordby John A.A. Logan

Here's a one-stop shopping link for your convenience:

Happy reading!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Sunday Post #4

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This meme was inspired in part by In My Mailbox. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Unfortunately, this has been a horrible, heartwrenching week for me as I'm facing a very serious diagnosis regarding my cat's health. Funny how everything else takes a backseat when something like this happens. (When I can't get excited about books, something is obviously very wrong!) Earlier in the week before everything happened I got some great titles on Netgalley that I've been looking forward to for awhile. The upcoming week will be featuring Beth Ciotta as she stops by on her Cupcake Lover's Tour.

      Hiding Gladys

For Review:
The Wicked Wager

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning (Avenue of Dreams) by Olivia Newport (free)
Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
Rules of Lying by Stephie Smith (free)
Memoirs of a Bad Dog by Curtis Moser (free)
A Dead Red Oleander by RP Dahlke (free)
Haunted House for Sale by Jane Monson
The Search (Secrets of Crittenden County) by Shelley Shepard Gray
Sacred Ground by Rita Karnopp (free)
Touching the Clouds (Alaskan Skies) by Bonnie Leon (free)
Alaska Bound by Tammy Jones

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Message from Tara

Mommy is letting me take over the blog today to let you all know what I've been going through this week.

This summer I've had a hard time breathing. It's been so horribly hot here in Vermont that Mommy thought that was causing it. But it's cooler now and I've been getting worse. I've even needed to stop and rest after using my litter pan. On Thursday I went to the vet and he took an xray, which showed fluid in my chest cavity. He wanted a radiologist to look at it for a second opinion.

Yesterday morning the vet called and said he wanted me to have an ultrasound and see a cardiologist because the radiologist found that I have an enlarged heart and a mass in my abdomen.

Mommy got me an appointment immediately for yesterday afternoon. I saw the radiologist first. She said I don't have a mass but my spleen is enlarged. She stuck a needle in my spleen and is having the fluids tested. (Mommy sure loves kissing my shaved tummy from the ultrasound!)

Then I saw the cardiologist. He could see immediately that I have severe congestive heart failure. He stuck a needle in my chest and drew the fluids out. I'm now on a diuretic to prevent the fluid from building up again, and Plavix because I'm at advanced risk for blood clots. I have bloodwork coming on Monday to see if there are any other heart drugs that are safe for me to take. I sure can breathe better now that the junk is out of my chest!!!

On Tuesday the results from my spleen test will come back. Since the radiologist didn't know at the time that I'm in congestive heart failure, I'm hoping  the enlarged spleen is a result of that and not cancer somewhere.

So my prognosis isn't great. We were told some cats go downhill within months, others last a couple years. Mommy says she'll fight this with me for as long as we can. I just wish she'd stop crying so much.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Guest Blog/Spotlight: Keli Gwyn

An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business? Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair? 

Five Places to Ferret Fun Facts for Historical Fiction

by Keli Gwyn

Research rocks! I’ve been known to get so immersed in it that I lose track of time, let laundry languish, and leave dinner preparations to the last minute.

As a historical romance author, I love learning about the past. Finding an interesting fact I can use in a story is a high. Garnering a gem I can spin into an entire story makes me downright giddy.

And where do I go to perform my research, aside from Google, of course.

I have five favorite places…

Antique Stores

When I’m preparing to write a new story, I peruse antique stores. Wending my way though the displays takes me back in time and gets my creative juices flowing. I look for items I can use in my stories. Seeing them for myself helps me enhance my descriptions.

Since my stories are set in the Victorian Era—primarily the latter half—I watch for cartes de visite, wallet-sized photographs adhered to cardstock popular in the 1860s, as well as cabinet cards, 4½x6½ inch photographs, also mounted on cardstock, that became the preferred format in the 1870s.

I love using images of real people as models for my characters. I take note of every aspect in the picture: clothing, accessories, hairstyles, facial hair on men, items seen in the background, and, yes, even personality. I realize exposure times were long, requiring people to sit still for several seconds without smiling, but I can still tell a lot about a person’s character from a picture. For instance, I have a picture of a man with a button missing on his jacket. Considering how few pictures were taken and that he’s likely wearing his best outfit, this tells me appearance isn’t all that important to him—or that he has no woman in his life.


I often begin my research by visiting bookstores. But not just any bookstores. I’m talking about used bookstores and small local bookstores. Both can provide a wealth of information.

The used bookstore in my hometown of Placerville, The Bookery, has several sections devoted to local history. As I inhale that old book scent I love and thumb through the selections, ideas will come to me. I pay particular attention to possible settings and professions at this point. Actual events can serve as inspiration as well.

One of our most historic buildings houses Placerville News, a combination gift store, office supply, and bookstore. There are a few NYT bestsellers and a wall of magazines, but what I’m there for is the local history section. While there are books by well-known authors covering California history that can be found in big box stores or online, I’m after books written by local people who have documented the various small towns where I set my stories, books which are hard to find anywhere else but in the area itself. Such displays exist in many towns and are a wonderful resource.


As my story begins to take shape, I pay my local library a visit. The fact that many of the books on the shelves have been there a long time doesn’t matter. I actually prefer it that way because the older the book, the closer the writer was to those who lived in the period. For example, if I’m researching quilts, older books will have older patterns.

Old newspapers are one of my favorite resources. I’m blessed to live in the town that’s home to California’s oldest continuous newspaper, the Mountain Democrat. The Placerville branch of our county library houses copies of the paper on microfilm going all the way back to the 1850s! Old papers can tell us about historic and social events taking place. The advertisements let us know what products were available at what prices. And we can get lessons in how people spoke and the interesting words they used.


Historical facts abound at museums. The displays are great, but the best information comes from the staff and docents. They tend to be passionate about the history of the area and know so much. Ask them questions, and prepare to learn lots.

Some museums have researchers. The El Dorado County Historical Museum here in Placerville does. A research room such as this is often open to the public at specified times. On Tuesdays I can take my questions to the researchers and come away with more information than I dreamed possible. They have bulging files for each town in our county, as well as binders filled with historic photographs. I highly recommend getting to know your museum’s research team.

Actual Locations

When possible, visiting the settings of our stories gives us a complete picture, enabling us to bring those places to life, complete with sights, sounds, and smells authentic to the area. While this isn’t always possible, the Internet can help. With Google Earth, we can “see” almost any town. We can locate people who live there and might be willing to answer our questions. And we can contact the local libraries and locate bookstores that carry books by local authors.


What are your favorite places to perform research?

What fun facts have you discovered during your research?

Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives is currently available.When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Feed Your Reader Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Last Days of Freedom Giveaway Hop!

There will be a different book given away at each of the stops. At the bottom of this post are all the sites participating in the book hop. Make sure to visit (and follow) everyone and enter their giveaways! :-)

So, on to my part in the hop!

I am giving away winner's choice of a Kindle ebook, up to a $5 value. Simply leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you...and if you choose to follow my blog I'll enter you in my giveaway twice. Good luck and have fun!!!

Sour Apples

Currently Reading
Apple orchard owner Meg Corey is finally feeling settled into her new life in Granford--she's made friends, and her relationship with Seth Chapin is heating up--when her old Boston coworker Lauren Converse comes barreling into town, running the Congressional campaign for a former hometown football hero. But Meg doesn't have time to worry about why Seth seems reluctant to back Lauren's campaign when her neighbor, local dairy farmer Joyce Truesdell, is found dead from an apparent kick to the head from one of her cows.

When an autopsy shows that the fatal blow actually came from a weapon, Meg is even more troubled. Popular opinion points to Joyce's husband as the culprit, but Meg can't help wondering if someone wanted the outspoken dairy farmer out of the way--but why? She'll have to find out who had a beef with the victim, before she's the next one to get creamed...
My Review: This is one of my favorite long-running cozy series, with a cast of characters that have grown to become old friends that I get to spend time with every now and then. In this sixth book of the series, Meg's busy spring contemplating a new expansion/business partnership with Seth is interrupted by a former co-worker now working on a political campaign and the murder of a nearby dairy farmer. This book had special meaning to me because my father grew up on a dairy farm, which was in operation until a tragic fire in 2001, so I really appreciated all of the insight on the extremely hard work it entails. This is a very timely book centering around politics and environmental issues. A very enjoyable read best accompanied by a slice of apple pie.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.