Fresh Pick | HOPEFUL by Shelley Shepard Gray
Fresh Pick / May 30, 2014

Fresh Pick for Friday, May 30th, 2014 is HOPEFUL by Shelley Shepard Gray #inspirationalFriday Avon Inspire February 2014 On Sale: February 4, 2014 256 pages ISBN: 0062204467 EAN: 9780062204462 Kindle: B00DB32SY4 Paperback / e-Book Add to Wish List Amish Buy A Copy Amazon.com Kindle BN.com Powell’s Books Indiebound Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray In the Amish town of Sugarcreek, love comes in many forms. But will it come at all for Miriam? Miriam Zehr has worked at the Sugarcreek Inn longer than she cares to admit. The restaurant is a favorite of town residents as well as the many tourists who come to taste the famous Amish fare. Though she always tries to have a smile for every customer, deep down Miriam knows something’s missing: a family of her own. Miriam has never felt particularly beautiful, especially because she’s always been a bit heavier than other girls her age. When Junior, the man she’s pined for all her life, suddenly seeks her out, she’s thrilled to be noticed . . . until she realizes he’s only asking her to help get the attention of Mary Kathryn Hershberger, her pretty friend. If Miriam helps Junior court Mary Kathryn, she’ll get to…

Jolina Petersheim | Living the Dream
Author Guest / May 30, 2014

My husband—in the middle of editing my manuscript—looked up at me. “You realize you’re living your dream?” he said. “You’re an author. A published author. ” I paused while wiping down the countertop, the damp rag in my hand. “I am, aren’t I?” “I bet it’s easy to forget that when you’re living your dream every day.” He was right. The hustle and bustle of deadline, preparing to launch my sophomore novel, THE MIDWIFE, being six months pregnant all while staying home with a toddler sometimes makes me feel like whirligig in a straight-line wind, no stopping point in sight. I am not as anxious about my June 1 book launch as I was with my debut, THE OUTCAST; I can actually enjoy these days leading up to it, instead of tossing and turning at night. Yet the anxiety, with THE OUTCAST, fueled both me and my mild case of insomnia. I wrote blog posts, arranged radio, television, and newspaper interviews, and finalized the details for book signings like I was hyped up on caffeine. I’ve done all of these things in preparation for THE MIDWIFE: a story about overcoming loss and learning to love again. But I am also…

Kathleen Y’Barbo | Beach Reads: What’s Under Your Umbrella?
Author Guest / May 30, 2014

Don’t you love summer? The sun, the sand, and oh…the beach reads! Okay, so some of us—me included—do not currently live near a beach. Still…the idea of long stretches of time curled up beneath a beach umbrella (or some other spot of blissful solitude) with nothing to do but read is so very wonderful, isn’t it? Even if none of the above scenarios are plausible in your world, finding a summer beach read is! While my criteria for a summer beach read does not require that the book actually be set in a beach town, I do love reading about these places. As I mentioned, I am currently landlocked due to love, a story for another day (or another book!), but during my childhood and most of my adult years I lived in close proximity to the Texas Gulf Coast. Stories of life in coastal towns are not only part of my past, but they are also part of the novels that fill my bookshelf. Because I loved to read about these locations, I decided to create a series of stories set at the beach—Vine Beach, to be precise—so I could also write about them. Working on all three of…

Katee Robert | The Cards Never Lie
Author Guest / May 29, 2014

Tarot cards in a sci-fi novel? It seems kind of a weird mix at first glance, and probably second glance, too. Even in today’s society, tarot cards are met with a wide variety of responses. Some people swear by them… and just as many people swear that they’re nonsense. Then there is the group I fall into – the one who can’t really say one way or another. If you’ve ever had your cards read by someone who does it often, you know what I mean. It’s downright eerie. So how did the cards work their way into a universe so different from our own? It started, as most of my books do, with a “What if?” question. I read Ann Aguirre’s GRIMSPACE (which I highly, HIGHLY recommend if you haven’t picked it up yet). In her future, life after death has been proven not to exist. It’s done really well. But I started wondering what would happen if exactly the opposite were true. What if religion was king? It’s not a revolutionary thought, but the one thing that hit me and stuck was the idea that if there were gods, what if the various ways of fortune telling were…

Remembering Maya Angelou
Author Guest , News / May 29, 2014

There are few figures in recent American history that are as well loved and recognized as Dr. Maya Angelou. Even though she has departed this world today at the age of 86, Angelou’s vibrant spirit echoes on through her art. Angelou dedicated her life to spreading hope, combating prejudice, and fostering the belief that regardless of race, class, or gender, every person holds the right to live, and live fully. Through her writing, Angelou became a voice for the oppressed, and through her presence, she inspired everyone who knew her. Her poetry and memoirs express her profound resilience and passion for life, encouraging anyone who read them to persevere, cling to truth, and refuse to be broken by adversity. Angelou wrote in her famous poem “Still I Rise”: You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up among heavy segregation in Arkansas. Before she became recognized as a poet and writer, Angelou was known as a performer, traveling America and Europe as a dancer and singer in the 1950’s….

Fresh Pick | SLIGHTLY SPELLBOUND by Kimberly Frost
Fresh Pick / May 29, 2014

Fresh Pick for Thursday, May 29th, 2014 is SLIGHTLY SPELLBOUND by Kimberly Frost #SupernaturalThursday Southern Witch #4 Berkley May 2014 On Sale: May 6, 2014 ISBN: 0425267547 EAN: 9780425267547 Kindle: B00GY9SK0S Paperback / e-Book Add to Wish List Romance Paranormal Buy A Copy Amazon.com Kindle BN.com Powell’s Books Indiebound Slightly Spellbound by Kimberly Frost With two kinds of magick at odds inside her and two gorgeous men vying for her attention, Tammy Jo Trask is used to being pulled in opposite directions. But in the latest Southern Witch novel she’ll have to make some serious decisions—like how she intends to stay alive. Tammy Jo’s romance with the wizard Bryn Lyons is on hold while her ex-husband is in town trying to remind her of the good old days. Choosing between them isn’t easy, and it doesn’t help that a skeletal creature is spying on her, a faery knight is hunting her, and she just made friends with Evangeline Rhodes—a rich witch who thinks her own family is trying to kill her. When Evangeline disappears under suspicious circumstances, Tammy Jo is determined to find out what happened. As she uncovers a secret more dangerous—and personal—than she could have imagined, she also…

Fresh Pick | BEFORE WE KISS by Susan Mallery
Fresh Pick / May 28, 2014

Fresh Pick for Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 is BEFORE WE KISS by Susan Mallery #RomanceWednesday Fool’s Gold Harlequin HQN Books May 2014 On Sale: May 27, 2014 368 pages ISBN: 0373778813 EAN: 9780373778812 Kindle: B00HAZ6BHO Paperback / e-Book Add to Wish List Romance Contemporary Buy A Copy Amazon.com Kindle BN.com Powell’s Books Indiebound Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery New York Times bestselling sensation Susan Mallery returns to Fool’s Gold, California, where it’s true that sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs… Former pro-football kicker Sam Ridge has notoriously bad luck with women—from cheaters to fame chasers. Still, the gorgeous brunette at the bar in Fool’s Gold looks harmless— until she takes him home and he discovers a room devoted to securing a man, for life. Dellina Hopkins never guessed that storing gowns from a friend’s bridal boutique would chase away her first and only fling. After her parents died, she skipped her “wild youth” to raise her sisters. She doesn’t want forever from Sam, but one night—all night—would’ve been nice. His clean getaway gets messy when his firm hires Dellina to plan an event. As long hours lead to late nights, the two succumb to temptation again. Has…

Fresh Pick | MURDER SIMPLY BREWED by Vannetta Chapman
Fresh Pick / May 27, 2014

Fresh Pick for Monday, May 26th, 2014 is MURDER SIMPLY BREWED by Vannetta Chapman #SuspenseMonday Zondervan April 2014 On Sale: March 25, 2014 352 pages ISBN: 0310326168 EAN: 9780310326168 Kindle: B00DL0WQGC Paperback / e-Book Add to Wish List Amish, Mystery Buy A Copy Amazon.com Kindle BN.com Powell’s Books Indiebound Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury’s Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery. Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop’s duties, the two women become fast friends—as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t convinced. Clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is…

Tonya Burrows | Why I Don’t “Write What I Know”
Author Guest / May 27, 2014

One question I’m constantly asked at conferences: was I in the military? Short answer is no, although I have come close to joining several times. But, see, there’s an old writer’s axiom—”write what you know”—and because of that, people seem to assume that having military experience is the only possible way I can write my books. And, yes, maybe that was true back before the technological advances of today when research was much harder to do. Now, however, I think it’s the biggest load of hooey told to budding writers. C’mon, I’m a small town girl with a perennially boring life not at all conducive to writing the kinds of books I want to write. Lemme give you an example. I’ve spent the last several months doing research for BROKEN HONOR, the third book in my HORNET series, which is about human trafficking in Eastern Europe. Some of the topics I’ve delved into this month alone include the Navy SEALs (again!), NCIS (not the TV show), arms and sex trafficking, the countries of Moldova, Ukraine, and an unrecognized breakaway republic called Transnistria that’s still stuck in the Soviet era. Did you know that Moldova is the poorest country in Europe?…

Spotlight on Lori Wilde
Author Spotlight / May 27, 2014

Return to Cupid, Texas With the publication of Love with a Perfect Cowboy, my Cupid, Texas series comes to a close. I’m going to miss writing about those cowboys, and the Davis Mountains. There is no other region in Texas like the Trans-Pecos. It’s completely unique, and the people who live there are a different breed—rugged, independent, hardworking, and stoic—molded by the extremes of climate and topography. It’s a place of austere beauty that has captured the hearts and imagination of renowned artists from around the world. As research for the books, my husband, and I traveled to the Davis Mountains in our RV, and we experienced some of the adventures you’ll read about in the book. We rode our all-terrain vehicle in the desert, just as Luke and Melody do. What fun we had! And the gear Melody wears is the same gear my husband decked me out in. We visited the MacDonald Observatory, and a late night star party was inspiration for the same event that takes place in the book where Luke and Melody slip off into one of the observation domes. When we toured the domes, I leaned over to whisper in my husband’s ear, “Can…