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Measuring Success as a New Author

Please welcome my very dear friend,

Sara L. Foust

Headshot Sara L Foust

As a new author, I must sheepishly admit I had big dreams. Even though I’d heard in conferences over and over, writing and earning an income that can be considered a full-time career is rare in this industry these days, I chose to hope, with fingers and toes crossed, I might be one of those “special” ones. My first novel was going to go straight to number one on the New York Times Bestsellers list and I would launch my career nationwide. Everyone would love my books. I would be able to provide for my family with my writing within the first few years. Oh, yeah, big dreams.

I completed my first manuscript in late 2015 and started sending out queries. It really didn’t take me long to tuck that manuscript in a drawer and pretend like it didn’t exist. My second manuscript was better. I worked hard, read everything I could about the craft of writing, and applied that new knowledge to improving my writing. It was published in November 2017 and I now have three published novels and one self-published novella.

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I’m still not making anything you could exactly call an income, but I have learned to measure my success in other ways.  I was recently emailed from my website contact form and invited to come speak at a library about an hour from my home. Friends have sent me pictures of them reading the books, finding them in my local library just down the road, and passing them to friends and family of theirs. I met a bookstore event planner at a local event and she invited me to come for a book signing in May at the store in Sevierville. I have “met” hundreds of new people online who want to engage and talk to me and expressed interest in my writing. And most of all, I have learned so much. Each of these small victories adds up to success in my book (hehehe). I’m not going to stop writing or slow down just because I’m not seeing the big money roll in. This is my passion and I am proud of the things God has allowed me to do so far. Money would be helpful for my family’s finances, but it isn’t why I write.

I recently told my best friend and writing pal that we have to learn to measure our success in different terms than the “big guys,” you know, those little-known writers like J. K. Rowling and Stephen King. We have to be willing to look at every new contact with someone where they express interest in our work, or every new email signup, or every new review as a success. Writing may not yet be paying my bills, but the value this career has added to my self-esteem, my enjoyment of life, and my feeling of fulfilling my God-called role is worth so much more!

Are you a new author out there? Or maybe you are one who has been around the block a few times but still feel you haven’t “made it.” Let’s start thinking about success in this industry differently, together. How do you measure success?

Get your copy of Sara’s book: Rarity Mountain!

No job. Little faith. A paralyzing secret and a life-changing survival show.

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Author: Sara L. Foust Title: Rarity Mountain: Journey to Faith ISBN-10: 1945094737 ISBN-13: 978-1945094736

 

Headshot Sara L Foust

Author Bio:

Sara is a multi-published, award-winning author and homeschooling mother of five who writes surrounded by the beauty of East Tennessee. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is the author of the Love, Hope, and Faith Series, which includes Callum’s Compass (2017), Camp Hope (2018), and Rarity Mountain (March 2019).  She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and a novella, Of Walls (November 2018). Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com.

 

 

How to reach me:

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Meet Rachel Dylan!

56157759_2198407000249657_2803427331371171840_nPlease join me in welcoming, Rachel Dylan to the WordyNerdyBlog.

SHAREE: Thanks so much Rachel for being here! I have absolutely loved the Atlanta Justice Series and I think Breach of Trust is becoming my favorite! I’m still reading so I won’t be offering any spoilers, but I will say plan to be up late reading with this one.

I’m so excited for you all to meet Rachel. She’s an amazing writer and a beautiful person! If you’re not already an avid reader and fan of her books, I’m urging you to start today with Breach of Trust!

Let’s dive right in and start with writing questions.

Everyone’s always curious about where writers get their story ideas. Have any of your stories developed as a result of cases you’ve worked on (realizing confidentiality plays a huge roll here) or have your characters come from people you’ve met?

RACHEL: None of my stories have arisen out of cases I’ve worked on, and as you suggest, that’s by design. I choose topics and situations that are outside of my cases. But of course, being a lawyer is built into my DNA at this point, so I do bring those parts of me into the story.

SHAREE: I love audiobooks because I can be doing chores while listening to a great book. Would you share a little about the process of converting your books into audiobooks? Do the narrators contact you to make sure they’re conveying the story and characters accurately?

RACHEL: For my Bethany House books, it’s completely dealt with at the publisher level, and I’m not directly involved. For the Windy Ridge Series, which is Indie, my awesome agent got me the audio deal. I have worked with the narrator on pronunciations, and I’m thrilled at how the Windy Ridge Series has come to life. I’ve been listening to the audio during my commute to work.

SHAREE: Could you tell us about your next series and the release dates?

RACHEL: I’m starting a new series called Capital Intrigue and book one: End Game releases in January. This book still has legal elements but brings in a broader group of law enforcement characters and government agencies. I’m really excited about it. End Game involves an FBI and NCIS agent along with a JAG attorney and some other great characters.

SHAREE: Woowhoo!! Can’t wait for that series! You have some of the coolest book trailers. Do you create them yourself?

RACHEL: Yes, I do. Unfortunately, the website I was using to create them has shut down! So, I’ll have to look for other options in the future.

SHAREE: I’m sure the next trailers will be as just as fabulous. Now, for those writers in our reader audience, what writing advice were you given or do you have, that you’d be willing to share with new authors?

RACHEL: Write the story of your heart and know that there isn’t just one way.

SHAREE: Oh, I love that! One of the things that is especially interesting about you is that you’re a lawyer as well as a multi-published, award winning author. I’m astonished how you do both and you do it remarkably well. What would you say is the key to balancing the two?

RACHEL: I ask myself this everyday LOL. The bottom line is there is no substitute for hard work. I take my work ethic from being a lawyer and apply that to my writing. Given the time constraints I have, I must stick to a schedule.

SHAREE: Yes! Writing is hard work and I so appreciate keeping to a schedule. What kind of law do you practice?

RACHEL: I worked in a large law firm for eight years as a litigator defending large companies. Now I work in-house at a global automobile manufacturer. If you pay attention closely enough to the cars my characters drive, you might be able to guessJ

SHAREE: The hunt is on to learn what cars those are! For our readers, if know the answer, please consider adding it to your comments below. As a fellow animal lover, I always enjoy seeing pictures of your fur-babies. Can you tell us a little about them?

RACHEL: Yes! I have five furry babies—two dogs and three cats. Four of them are rescue including a three-legged cat. Chloe the Labrador is the oldest. She turns 13 in April. Happy Birthday!!

SHAREE: AWWW Happy Birthday Chloe! If you could write the book that changed the world, one that would be read for centuries to come, what message would you want it to convey?

RACHEL: That God’s love is relentless, and no matter how far gone you feel like you are, Jesus will meet you there in the darkness and walk with you through the fire and into the light.

SHAREE: Amen and amen! Was there a particular book or television show that propelled you toward wanting to be a writer?

RACHEL: I’ve loved writing since I was a little girl. My love for reading and English classes started super early.

SHAREE: Yep, me too!! Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

RACHEL: I love connecting with readers via email or on social media. You can find more info at http://www.racheldylan.com.

SHAREE: Please connect with Rachel and be sure to grab your copy of Breach of Trust! Rachel, thank you so very much for being on my blog!

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ISBN-13: 9780764219825 Publisher: Bethany House

 

Hunger with Guest Sally Shupe

My husband and I started a slim fast diet on Feb. 18. Mainly, I did it to support him, but let’s face it. A few extra pounds have found me too. As in, I am not comfortable in my clothes but don’t want to admit it. Just in the first week, so many things crossed my mind. Great fodder for this blog post. Fodder as in material for this post, not food for animals. Although, I might be hungry.

When I first started this diet, when I was hungry, I wanted food. Now. Hunger causes us to do things. Hunger is action. You get hungry, you go eat. If you’re hungry for God’s Word, you go read the Bible. Same with writing. If you’re hungry for a published book, you go write those words each day to see that goal come about.

The more you do it, the more you want. The first week of this diet, I saw results. I wanted more of those results. If you read just a little of the Word, the more you want to. When I started running, the more I wanted to keep running. When you start watching what you eat, and especially pay attention to how you feel, like not being bloated, having more energy, etc., the more you want to continue watching what you eat. The more you write, the more you get into your story, your characters, the plot, the message you want to convey, the more you will want to write, make time to write, learn about the craft of writing to do the best job you can with it.

As you have to research how to eat healthy, find healthy meals to prepare, ingredients, content, so it is with writing. Read craft books, other books in your genre, so you know what works, what doesn’t, what marketing initiatives are available (or create your own!), how the books sell, the authors, and agents. That’s how to make your book the best it can be, just as eating healthy makes your body the best it can be. 

Are you hungry enough to believe you can do this? ‘This’ being whatever it is that you want to accomplish. Just as with weight loss or running, start where you are right now. Haven’t lost any weight yet? Haven’t started writing yet or gotten as far as you thought you would have by now? Get started. Figure out where you are right now and move. Any step forward is forward motion. Once you lose a few pounds, build from there. Keep going. Once you run for 5 minutes, build from there. Keep moving. Whether you’ve written no words ever, none this week, or none this month, (or year) keep writing. Each word builds on the other, each sentence makes a paragraph, each paragraph makes a chapter, until before you know it, you have a manuscript ready to be edited and submitted.

How hungry are you for the things you want to see in your life? 

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Sally Shupe lives in southwest Virginia with her husband, two grown kids-a daughter still at home and a son nearby, and a whole bunch of pets: five dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and birds at the birdfeeder (and the mandatory snowman when the snow cooperates). She writes contemporary Christian romance, with two completed manuscripts and three more in progress.

When Sally’s not writing or working full-time, she is a freelance editor for several authors who write fiction and nonfiction; students working on dissertation papers; performs beta reading for various authors; publishes book reviews on her blog; is a member of ACFW; and loves genealogy, running, and crocheting.

Sally uses her love of words to write about God’s amazing love.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SallyShupe1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sallyshupewritings/

Blog: http://sallyshupe.blogspot.com/

Website: https://sallyshupeseditingservice.weebly.com/

 

March New Releases

March 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Children’s:

The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog by Daphne Self — Majesty, the firehouse dog, is missing. Willie and Jax are on the case to discover who is the dognapping culprit. Could it be their neighbor, Mr. Applebee? Or maybe it is Ms. Thornton? Join the Pintail Duo, Wilhelmina van der Coup and Jackson Barnaby, as they follow the clues to rescue Majesty in The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog. (Children’s from Ambassador International)

Contemporary Romance:

When He Found Me by Victoria Bylin — With his career and faith in tatters, a disillusioned baseball player falls for an optimistic single mom secretly battling cervical cancer. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

His Secret Daughter by Lisa Carter — He just found out he’s a father… But is he ready to be a dad? When veteran Jake McAbee learns he has a daughter, he’s determined to raise the adorable toddler. But Maisie’s foster mom, Callie Jackson, insists Jake stay at her orchard until he’s prepared for fatherhood. While Jake and Maisie bond, the trio begins to feel like family. Could the best home for Maisie be the one Jake and Callie create together? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Finding Love on Whidbey Island, Washington by Annette M. Irby — Liberty Winfield lives with loss every day. She’d rather leave her history behind her, but when faced with moving back to her hometown, the past becomes unavoidable. She takes a job at the florist shop owned by her ex-boyfriend’s family from a decade ago. Now he’s unavoidable. Clay Garrison knows the pain of ruing his mistakes. Most of his regrets center around Liberty. If he could undo his poor choices, he would. Liberty is back. He has one more chance to make things right. She doesn’t believe anyone could love her unconditionally, so he sets out to prove her wrong. He must also try to right the biggest wrong of their past, knowing that in doing so, he could lose her forever. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Whatever is True by Pamela S. Meyers — Bullfighter and ranch hand Clint Palmer yearns for a family of his own and desires a relationship with barrel racer Lacy Roberts, a fellow ranch employee. But what would she want in a guy who was abandoned by his father and has a mother who is an alcoholic? If he’s ever going to be seen in a different light by Lacy, he needs greater financial security than what a ranch-hand position provides. Lacy’s parents have scorned her ever since she opted for ranch life rather than pursuing a business career. She’s attracted to Clint, who has shown enough interest in her that she reveals a secret about her past—only to be rejected by him. She’s about to move on when Clint learns a secret related to his own life that changes everything. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Her Colorado Cowboy by Mindy Obenhaus — Lily Davis agrees to take her children riding…despite her fear of horses. But now widowed cowboy Noah Stephens is determined to help her get comfortable in the saddle. And, at her children’s insistence, Lily finds herself promoting his rodeo school. As Noah and Lily work together, will Noah continue to shield his heart…or can they discover a love that conquers both their fears? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Her Last Chance Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe — When pregnant single mother Hannah Vincent shows up professing to be the half sister of the Maxwells of Big Heart Ranch, horse trainer Tripp Walker is wary. Wounded before, he doesn’t trust easily. If only Hannah and her feisty five-year-old daughter weren’t so impossible to resist. Now, despite his doubts, joining this little family is quickly becoming the cautious cowboy’s greatest wish. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Buried Mountain Secrets by Terri Reed — Desperate to find her missing teenage brother, Maya Gallo ventures into the Colorado Rockies expecting rough terrain–not deadly treasure hunters. But when she’s caught in their crosshairs, rudely handsome mounted patrolman Alex Trevino come to her aid. The deputy sheriff knows what these bandits are capable of, so getting Maya–and her brother–home safely may be his hardest mission yet. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Cozy Mystery:

Like a Tree by Danny & Wanda Pelfrey — The movie making industry spreading across Georgia has finally made its way to the little foothill village of Adairsville. Bookseller and police chaplain Davis Morgan along with a young female clerk discover the body of a member of the movie company on a historic site at the foot of a large oak tree. Davis despite his promise to his wife cannot resist investigating the mystery. He and his young friend, policeman Charley Nelson, quietly dig into the case even though it is officially under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff. There is no shortage of suspects: the mysterious red headed man, sister of the victim, the fiancée and others. During the investigation an already troubled Charley is framed for a drug crime, and Davis receives word that an old enemy is on his way to Georgia after escaping from prison to make good a threat against him. Late one afternoon it comes to an astounding conclusion beneath the same sprawling oak where it all started. (Cozy Mystery from CrossLink)

General Contemporary:

Within This Circle by Deborah Raney — After a tumultuous courtship, John and Julia Brighton have a second chance at happiness! With tragedy behind them and their children grown, they’re looking forward to a new and promising era in their lives. Only, such a promise is never guaranteed. And life can change in a moment. The Brightons’ lives are turned upside down when John’s daughter Jana abandons her husband, Mark, and three-year-old daughter. John and Julia reach out to young Ellie, to give the young couple time to heal, but how can they help this child, so confused and longing for Mommy? And how much sorrow and stress can both fledgling marriages endure? (General Contemporary from Raney Day Press)

Grace & Lavender by Heather Norman Smith — Recently retired Colleen Hill is always busy, constantly on a quest to make life more interesting. When the ladies’ group at her church partners with the local children’s home, Colleen jumps in as usual, volunteering to share her passion for cooking with a troubled teenager named Grace. Colleen must balance the new project with her pursuit of becoming a contestant on a television game show, along with all the other ideas her brain continually spins out. Colleen’s daughter Melody is quite different. She lives a calm, simple life and is content with who she is. That is, until an unexpected opportunity to work with Grace, too, pushes her to reevaluate life and dare to take on bigger dreams. The path starts with a newly-found interest in soap-making and leads her to responsibilities she didn’t even know she wanted. (General Contemporary from Ambassador International)

Historical Romance:

The Erie Canal Brides Collection by Johnnie Alexander, Lauralee Bliss, Ramona K. Cecil, Rita Gerlach, Sherri Wilson Johnson, Rose Allen McCauley, Christina Miller — Completed in 1825, the Erie Canal connected the Great Lakes to the Hudson River, and soon other states like Ohio created canals linking Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Suddenly the Midwest was open to migration, the harvesting of resources, and even tourism. Join seven couples who live through the rise of the canals and the problems the waterways brought to each community, including land grabs, disease, tourists, racism, and competition. Can these couples hang on to their faith and develop love during times of intense change? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

This Daring Journey by Misty M. Beller — The only hope to keep her newborn baby alive is to reach the safety of her Indian people… This mountain man is the last person she should trust to get her there. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin — In spring of 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries at the front, receives an unexpected message by carrier pigeon: it is an urgent summons from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life—a woman he believed to be dead. Leaving Britain’s shores to return into war-torn France, he hopes his reunion with her will ease his guilt and this mission restore the courage he lost on the battlefield. Colin is stunned when he arrives in Paris to discover the message came not from Jewel, but from a stranger who claims to be her half sister, Johanna. Johanna works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence; having found Jewel’s diary, she believes her sister is alive and in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is at first skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them. When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, however, that trust is at stake, as danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot — As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it’s time for a change. Her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek’s midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn’t sure her heart can take it. Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn’t concerned only with the baby’s welfare. He’s been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated — and that he’ll need Thea’s help if he’s ever to find the justice he seeks. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy — City dweller John McCall never expected to be out in the High Sierras of 1868 on a wild-goose chase to find the Chiltons’ supposedly lost grandson. But now that he’s out here, things have gotten even more complicated, mostly due to wildcat Penny Scott. She’s not like any woman he’s ever met–comfortable in the woods, with a horse, and with a gun. When Penny and John are taken against their will by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don’t have, both realize they’ve stumbled into something dangerous and complicated. With their friends and family desperately searching for them, Penny and John must make a daring escape. When they emerge back into the real world, they are confronted with a kidnapper who just won’t stop. They must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, even as this city man and country woman fight a very inconvenient attraction to each other. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

To Win Her Heart by Candee Fick — Despite Emma Richards’ fanciful dreams growing up in the shadow of King Arthur’s castle and the manor on the cliff, the orphan is now trapped inland serving her wealthy cousins with no hope for her own future. Sir Grayson Wentworth spent his years at Cambridge dreaming of the Cornwall coast and wishing he could return to the happy days of his youth. Called home to his father’s deathbed, the young baron soon learns he has inherited a title, a neglected estate, and a betrothal agreement he knew nothing about. When the new Lord Danvers travels to execute the last matters of his father’s will, he finds himself promised to one woman and falling for another. Can he keep his vow to find a wife and win her heart? Or will honor be sacrificed in the name of love? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The White City by Grace Hitchcock — While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Ian Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard. Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Highest of Hopes by Susan Anne Mason — After her beloved grandfather’s death, Emmaline Moore is shocked to discover that her “deceased” father is actually living in Canada. Having no other family, Emma decides she must find him, and so embarks on a journey across the ocean, accompanied by her best friend, Jonathan. Unfortunately, Randall Moore and his well-to-do family aren’t thrilled by her arrival, fearing her sudden appearance will hinder his chance at becoming mayor of Toronto in 1919. Despite everything, Emma remains determined to earn their affection. Jonathan Rowe has secretly loved Emma for years and hopes that during their trip he can win her heart. Concerned that Randall might reject her, Jonathan is ready to console Emma and bring her home. When she informs him that she has no intention of returning to England, Jonathan begins to despair. Can he convince Emma to find value within herself rather than seeking it from a virtual stranger? And will she ever come to see that Jonathan is her true home? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Katelyn’s Choice by Susan G Mathis — Katelyn Kavanagh serves the famous George Pullman and President Grant in the enchanting Thousand Islands. Yet the transition proves anything but easy when she falls in love and can’t tame her gossiping tongue. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh by Carolyn Miller — Can a very proper young lady of noble birth find love with a mysterious, fossil-hunting scientist in the smuggler-plagued coasts of Devon, England? (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)

Sand Creek Serenade by Jennifer Uhlarik — Dr. Sadie Hoppner is called upon to nurse the gunshot wound of Cheyenne brave Five Kills after tensions erupt between the braves and the soldiers at Fort Lyon. Even as Sadie and Five Kills form an unlikely bond, danger threatens the fragile treaty that ensures peace for both their people…and their hearts. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Welcome Laura Conner Kestner

Please join me in welcoming my friend, Laura Conner Kestner!

pic.jpg After 25 years in community journalism, Laura Conner Kestner embarked on a career in inspirational fiction. Laura is a proud seventh-generation Texan. Born in Fort Worth, she now lives in central Texas. She is happily married to the “boy next door” and they have two daughters, two wonderful sons-in-law, and five grandchildren. She’s thankful for God’s grace, her family, and an opportunity to do the work she loves. Laura is a 2016 ACFW Genesis Award winner, 2016 ACFW First Impressions winner, 2016 SWFRW/RWA Joyce Henderson Contest winner, a 2016 NWH/RWA Lone Star Writer’s Contest finalist (second place), a 2016 SARA Emma Merritt contest winner, a winner in the RWA/KOD 2017 Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery suspense, a 2017 Maggie finalist, and winner in the inspirational category of the 2017 RWA Southern Magic Linda Howard contest. Laura was also a 2017 GOLDEN HEART® finalist, and a double finalist in 2018. Her novel Remember Texas was published in October.

Today, we’re talking about Laura’s debut novel, Remember Texas.

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Abigail Horton’s life is turned upside down during the last night of a week-long revival when her father—believed dead—shows up in the custody of a Texas Ranger. Abby is thrilled to see him, and equally devastated to learn he’s been living the life of an outlaw.                                    

Texas Ranger Caleb Calhoun stops in Moccasin Rock to let his prisoner, Bob Horton, visit briefly with family before transporting him to Austin for trial. Caleb takes a room at the family’s boarding house, planning to be in and out of the small town by morning. But within hours he’s kissed Abby Horton, made an enemy of her naïve suitor, and let his prisoner escape.  

As Caleb searches for the missing outlaw, and Abby struggles to keep the man’s whereabouts a secret, they also battle a growing attraction to each other. 

Throw in a Calhoun family mystery, an elderly preacher on a mission, an old flame of Caleb’s, a secretive spinster, a team of surveyors, and Abby’s mother and brother—and you have a compelling story of faith, family and forgiveness.

Friends, grab a chair and hang with us as Laura shares insights about Remember Texas.

Laura, First thank you for visiting!!

Thank you, Sharee! I’m thrilled to be here!

  1. Okay, before we begin, your debut Remember Texas has the most fascinating cover! Did you have any input on the design?

Yes, I had several images in mind for my cover, including a church, a Texas Ranger badge, a gun, and a train, and I was thrilled when the designer worked each of them in. I fell in love at first sight.

  1. You have a background in journalism? Tell us about that.

For twenty-five years I worked in community journalism, which just means I worked for several small town newspapers doing a variety of tasks including writing and photography. It was never boring. I’ve photographed everything from drug busts to structure fires, to kindergarten programs and record-setting produce (biggest melon, etc.) Okay, so sometimes it was boring. But I definitely benefitted from the experience. And I also wrote historical features about Texas, which included outlaws, gun-toting preachers, floods and fires. I loved every minute of it. But through it all, I wanted to write a novel. I had about a dozen partially finished manuscripts when I finally got serious about fiction in 2015.

  1. You have so many amazing accolades and awards. Are they all for Remember Texas?

No, many of them are for Fair Haven, a contemporary romantic suspense. That book is scheduled for release in 2020. And one award is for middle grade fiction. I love to write in different genres.

  1. Did you start with that title?

In a way. I wrote the first part of Remember Texas years and years ago, then put it in a drawer and moved on to other things. At that time, I was owner/publisher of a (small) regional magazine which had a similar name. It was a publication featuring historical tidbits, photos and stories from my home state. When I started working on this novel again I referred back to my own magazine often for research, and that name just seemed to fit.

  1. What’s been the biggest surprise since becoming a published author?

The biggest surprise is something that I became aware of before publication (but it’s definitely carried through, post publication) and that’s how incredibly supportive other authors are with advice, inspiration and encouragement. I’m so very grateful, and I’m trying to pay it forward.

  1. You’ve done book signings? What was the most memorable and why?

I’ve done only one official signing, at a nearby library. It was memorable because so many of my friends and family showed up, and I made some new friends. One of the local ladies clubs provided finger foods, and several people brought roses. I was so touched. It was truly a magical day.

  1. What do you hope your readers discover in Remember Texas

That even though God doesn’t promise believers a trouble free life, He does promise to walk through trouble with us. Also, don’t decide you know everything about a person before you get a chance to really know them. Sometimes things are just not what they seem.

  1. Is this a standalone or a series?

It can be enjoyed as a standalone, but there are other books about the Calhoun family. In fact, I started writing the second book in the series before Remember Texas, but then Caleb and Abby’s story just didn’t want to wait. The second one should be out in the next few months.

I’m so grateful Laura stopped by today. Please grab your own copy of Remember Texas. Friends, if you have questions or comments for Laura, please post them below. She’s an amazing lady and we’d love to have you join in our discussion!

 

February New Releases

February 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Amish Romance:

Convenient Amish Proposal by Jan Drexler — When Bethany Zook’s childhood friend returns to Indiana Amish country a widower, with an adorable little girl in tow, she’s willing to aid him in any way. But there’s just one thing Andrew Yoder needs – a mother for little Mari. And he seems convinced Bethany is the answer, just as she’s sure any union between them would be one strictly of convenience… Andrew thought Bethany had married another. Now, determined to keep Mari despite his mother-in-law’s interference, he offers Bethany marriage in name only. But she’s quickly becoming more than a housekeeper and a mamm. Can he leave the past behind to claim a family of the heart? (Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Contemporary Romance:

Ocean’s Edge by Cindy M. Amos — Tired of Kansas, Wynn Yardley places her wish to touch the ocean into Dreams Come True Director Teague Montgomery’s hands, and then launches into an adventure to the seashore with him to discover the tidal zone–and affections for her companion. (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)

Home Another Way by Brenda S. Anderson — Can a senator’s daughter and convict’s son overcome their differences and learn what it really means to love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Love, Lies, and Homemade Pie by Sally Bayless — Cara Smith has a whole new life planned in Abundance, Missouri. If she can just avoid questions from that intriguing guy at the newspaper, no one will ever find out about her past. Will Hamlin, local editor, desperately needs a big story to keep his newspaper afloat, and Cara Smith is clearly hiding something. But after Will’s initial inquiries fail to turn up anything, he grows less interested in Cara’s past and more interested in winning her heart with slices of pie and stolen kisses. When a crime is uncovered at city hall just as Will unearths Cara’s dark secret, the repercussions shatter their romance. Has Cara really left her past behind? Can Will finally find a way to save the paper? And can they each place their trust in God and together find freedom in the truth and overcome the obstacles to their love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Their Family Blessing by Lorraine Beatty — She owns the lodge but he owns the land. When single mom Carly Hughes the Longleaf Lodge, she gains a heap of trouble – her teenage crush Deputy MacKenzie Bridges. Her father left Mack the land around the lodge. While Carly wants to sell for her daughter’s sake. Mack wants to stay for his niece’s. and if they can’t work together, they’ll both lose everything… including the renewed spark between them. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Courting Calla by Hallee Bridgeman — Calla Vaughn is trying to get her life in order so she can go back to culinary school. No matter how hard she works, though, she feels like she is just treading water and can’t see any way out of the hole dug for her by a con artist who stole her identity. When flowers she sends to her best friend with a dinner invitation accidentally get delivered to Ian Jones, she decides to cook him the best meal he’s ever had. By the time she admits that the flowers were never for him, he is as convinced as she is that God orchestrated the mistake in the first place. All that’s left is to tell him the dark secret about her father’s widow. She waits a little too long, though, and is carted off to jail for questioning on felony charges before she gets a chance. Will Ian understand her situation, or will the deception surrounding Calla destroy any trust he has in her? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Different Season by Jennifer Heeren — How do you go on when your heart is broken? Twenty-two-year-old Lisette Carter is grief-stricken over her husband’s death—which occurred before she knew she was pregnant. Now in her last trimester, she meets David Baranski, who has a tragic past of his own. He seems to care for Lisette, but she’s not sure she can trust him. Besides, her sorrow and survivor guilt are all she can handle. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac — Rachel Somers, ghost writer for America’s #1 relationship expert, is running out of ideas, but it’s keep up the charade or lose the income required to care for her father. The last thing she needs is her boss’s publicist concocting a scheme to pair her with some radio star in hopes it will spark the next book idea. Lucas Grant didn’t expect his fame on a late-night sports show to come with constant calls from women wanting relationship advice. Which means he has to waste hours on the phone with an expert like Dr. Donna Somerville talking about feelings when he’d rather be talking about his first love: football. Then a deal opens up with a big-time producer who suspects Dr. Somerville isn’t what she seems, and he wants Lucas to discover her secret. To do that, he needs to win over her tight-lipped assistant who holds the key to his success and—he begins to suspect—his heart. Can love find a way through the lies that force them apart? (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

Season of Hope by Lisa Jordan — His dreams can all come true…but only if his ex-wife will agree! Jake Holland’s peaceful dairy farm is a sanctuary—one he wants to share with other worn and weary veterans. He just needs one more piece of land to start his program…and it belongs to Tori Lerner, his ex-wife. A collaboration could benefit them both, but with a past full of secrets between them, is there any hope for renewed love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Carolina Grace by Regina Rudd Merrick — She knows about God’s grace for her life, but pushes it away. He hasn’t experienced it, but finds grace in a way he never expected. First-year Special Education teacher Charly Livingston demonstrates God’s love on the outside, but is resentful that God allowed back-to-back tragedies in her family. Rance Butler is a top-notch medical intern. He’s on his way to the top, and when he meets Charly, he knows things will only get better. When he discovers family secrets and a dying father he never knew, his easy, carefree life seems to disintegrate. Even in the idyllic ocean breezes and South Carolina sunshine, contentment turns to bitterness and confusion except for God’s amazing grace. (Contemporary Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

The Street Singer by Kathleen Neely — While planning her own wedding, a law student works to help her favorite recording artist who has fallen on hard times. She finds an attorney who will work pro bono, but will her growing friendship with him come between her and her fiancé? (Contemporary Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Historical Romance:

A Love Most Worthy by Sandra Ardoin — During the Nome, Alaska gold rush of 1900, a merchant sends for a serious-minded bride to help him raise his young nephews but welcomes a cheery and adventuresome woman who tests his determination to hold her at arm’s length. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

When Valleys Bloom Again by Pat Jeanne Davis — After fleeing impending war in England, nineteen-year-old Abby Stapleton works to correct her stammer and to become a teacher in America, only to discover this conflict has no boundaries and that a rejected suitor is intent on destroying her name, fiancé, and fragile faith. (Historical Romance from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.)

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle GriepThe Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady, Cornish Coast, 1815: When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret? The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner) Dakota Territory, 1862: Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins. A House of Secrets, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890: Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Love’s Rescue by Linda Shenton Matchett — Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp? Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city? Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin — Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in late 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion. Violet Lindstrom wants to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment and refreshments for the men of the 357th in the base Aeroclub and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement. Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Mystery:

The Watch On the Fencepost by Kay DiBianca — In a deserted park on a cold winter day, twenty-seven-year-old Kathryn Frasier discovers a gold watch on a fencepost, and she has an ominous sense that it was deliberately left for her to find. But when she identifies the owner of the watch, she uncovers a dark family secret and a suspicion that her parents’ recent deaths may not have been an accident. (Cozy Mystery from CrossLink Christian Publishing)

Coffee Club Mysteries by Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Elizabeth Ludwig, Dana Mentink, Candice Prentice, and Janice Thompson — The coffee shop on the corner of First and Main in Oak Grove, Kansas, seems to attract a series of mysterious events. Or perhaps it is the six women who frequent the shop for book club who are the magnets for trouble. . . . Morgan Butler, owner of the Coffee Perk, finds a project worker hanged at her shop. Evelyn Kliff discovers a church meal organizer dead. Harper Daggett is being stalked for an antique jade owl she bought. Baker Jeanine Gransbury’s charity event money goes missing. Jo Anderson shares hazelnut coffee creamer, sending a man into anaphylaxis shock. Penny Parson finds a gun in one of her beehives. Join them as they unravel six unexplained events that have the potential to ruin business and spoil friendships if not handled with care. (Cozy Mystery from Barbour Publishing)

The Sleuth’s Dilemma by Kimberly Rose Johnson — A high school English teacher’s life is turned upside down when she becomes the object of someone’s anger. (Romantic Mystery from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:

Restoration of the Heart by June Foster — Leaving his beautiful fiancé’s world of alcohol, parties, and nights at her apartment, Luke Chamberlain returns to his Christian values, rededicates his life to the Lord, and vows never to fall into the lifestyle again. When the state of Idaho’s Tourism Department offers his construction company the contract to renovate Silver Cliff, an 1890’s silver mining ghost town, he accepts. Janie Littleton, project historian at the restoration of Silver Cliff, Idaho–an 1890’s silver mining ghost town–believes no man would find her attractive, with her extra pounds, eye glasses, and mousy brown hair. So when contractor Luke Chamberlain shows an interest in her, she doubts his sincerity. But strange turns to worse when someone claiming to be the miner who founded Silver Cliff in 1890 intimidates her with frightening midnight visits. Can Luke convince Janie he’s in love with the godly woman she is? Can Janie hold onto her faith as she’s harassed by frightening appearances of old Ezra Barclay who died a hundred years ago? (Romantic Suspense from Forget Me Not Romance)

Innocence Denied by Mike Garrett — Derrick Walton, to atone for past sins, helps an Arizona socialite hide out in Alabama while a nation-wide manhunt ensues. Can he help Larissa see the need for her soul’s salvation in time? (Romantic Suspense from CrossLink Publishing)

Speculative:

The Soul Searcher by Erin R. Howard — Elnora’s parents gave her one rule: Stay hidden away at all costs. Elnora Scott is used to her survival depending on the decisions of others. Locked away in her safe house, it is easy to follow her parents’ dying wishes until an angel, demon, and seer show up on her doorstep. Now, waking up in a dirty cell, she wishes she would have gone with them when she had the chance, because the very ones who unknowingly ushered the kidnapper to her location may be the only ones who can save her now. When Thea learns that Elnora may be in danger, she doesn’t hesitate to go find her. Thea thought stepping through the portal would be her greatest obstacle, but it only reveals a more sinister threat. (Urban Fantasy from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Women’s Fiction:

A Vow to Cherish by Deborah Raney — When his precious wife receives a devastating diagnosis, John Brighton feels his world has fallen apart. As Ellen slips away from him day by day, their love is tested as never before. Desperately needing someone to confide in, John meets Julia Sinclair, a young widow who seems to understand his pain as no one else can. Torn between doing what he knows to be right and what his heart tells him surely can’t be wrong, John soon discovers that the heart cannot be trusted where true love is concerned. (Women’s Fiction from Raney Day Press)

Young Adult:

You’re Amazing by Julie Arduini and Hannah Arduini – Middle schooler Jazmin’s a natural at dance until a series of changes make her wonder if she should even keep up with her favorite hobby. Lena’s a mom with young children overwhelmed with her schedule when a woman remarks that what Lena does isn’t even important. Both Jazmin and Lena belong to Linked, a mentoring ministry where all ages encourage each other and build friendships. Can these two surrender the lies they are believing and realize they are amazing? (Young Adult from Surrendered Scribe Media)

Jaime Jo Wright is in the HOUSE!

Friends, I’m beyond excited to share with you that Jaime Jo Wright is in the WordyNerdyBlog house today! Her latest release, The Curse of Misty Wayfair was so outstandingly, fabulously great I might break my rule of “never read the same book more than once” just to read it again! I will add the warning that there were times I had to make sure all the lights in the house were on. Yes, it’s THAT good! I could ramble for hours about this book. But, suffice it to say it has skyrocketed to my Best Top 10 EVER Reads. And if you’re still unsure, here’s my review and an excerpt .

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About The Curse of Misty Wayfair:

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother—who is battling dementia—compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns—and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

READY?? LET’S DO THIS!

Now onto the good stuff. Grab a cup of coffee, hot cocoa, tea…whatever you love best and follow me! You’re not going to want to miss a word of my interview with her.

JaimeJoWrightSHAREE:  Jaime Jo, welcome welcome!!!! I’m so grateful for the chance to talk with you today. The last time I hosted you was during the launch for The House on Foster Hill back in November 2017. So, I’m guessing a lot has happened since that first book. Can you tell us what some of the highs and lows have been since the release of The House on Foster Hill?

JAIME JO: Oh gosh!! There’s so many!! Most of life is filled with highs because, really, in the midst of trial, God has a way of plopping blessing after blessing into your path. Since the release of my first novel, I’ve written three more, I’ve gone on about six different trips throughout the nation, I watched my son graduate Kindergarten, I taught my daughter how to make a latte, we adopted a little rescue kitten who turned out to be a Flamepoint Siamese and my “therapy” cat during a super hard summer of illness, and we made strides in my autoimmune struggles and managed to keep hospital visits to simply visits and not stays!

SHAREE: I’m nodding my head emphatically. I love God’s faithfulness in those trials. He shows up on time, every time and his shoulders are so broad. What a compassionate Savior we have! Friends, you’ve got to see this beautiful kitty that Jaime Jo is talking about. Check out her Facebook page!

SHAREE: The Curse of Misty Wayfair is book three (and no spoilers here) but friends I’ve gotta tell you, it’s…wowzers! It’s fantabulous! I was pleased to see your quote from Nellie Bly as the book opens. I find her fascinating, but for those who may not know a lot about Nellie Bly, could you share a little bit about what attracted you to her story?

JAIME JO: For sure! Nellie Bly was truly a woman not of her time. She was a journalist in the late 1800’s which in and of itself, would technically be enough to raise brows. But she also had suspicions of the abuse that went on behind closed doors in asylums, so she took it on herself to be admitted to an institution for 10 days. It was a breakthrough, undercover investigation from which she narrowly escaped not being rescued from. As sane as she was, the doctors and nurses firmly believed she suffered from a mental illness (all without Nellie acting!). After her release, Nellie wrote an expose titled “Ten Days in a Madhouse”, and while not 21st century politically correct terminology today, it was taken very seriously (as it should have been) then. It was after her expose, that things began to change in asylums. Slowly. But change, they did.

SHAREE: She was an amazing lady with lion-like courage. Just goes to prove it only takes one person to start change. May we all be so bold to help those hurting.

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SHAREE: I loved that you addressed depression which is much more common today than it was in poor Thea’s time, but still an area of misconceptions. What is the message you hope readers gain from The Curse of Misty Wayfair in respect to depression?

JAIME JO: This is a sticky-wicket of a conversation for me. For some reason, it seems to be a point of contention, specifically in the world of faith. I think often, those of us struggling with depression or anxiety are challenged to pray more, read the Bible more, increase our faith more, etc. While those elements are ridiculously important, they’re that way for anyone–not just someone with a mental illness. There’s a stigma of weakness–mental weakness–that surrounds depression and/or anxiety, when in fact, there’s much to prove it can be chemical, hormonal, genetic, etc. I know not everyone will agree with me, but I firmly believe that while God allows some of us to bear that thorn in the side, He also provides relief to us through the miracle of modern medicine and psychology. As fellow friends, family, and Believers, showing grace and not challenging the authenticity of the sufferer’s faith, is so critical!!

SHAREE: You’ve got my AMEN, and I’m so glad you’re boldly speaking out on the matter. There is no shame in depression. I love that God uses everything, even those thorns to help others.

SHAREE: Memento mori is another interesting topic and you wove it into the story with great finesse. To the modern reader, this is something that might be morbid. What would you say to that person to explain the logic behind Memento Mori?

JAIME JO: The logic behind these types of photographs truly was to freeze in time the last memory of a loved one. It was never meant to be morbid or “gothic”, but rather a keepsake–a treasure! Many held it dear to themselves much like they would a lock of hair or a piece of clothing. To remember, to feel close to, and to never forget the ones who had gone before.

SHAREE: In a world of social media and selfies, this actually makes a lot of sense.

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SHAREE: As a new writer, I still struggle to balance home (family, household things, etc.) with work and writing. What advice would you give to someone like me who is still trying to juggle everything and write?

JAIME JO: Best piece of advice I can give is to stop looking for ideal time to write. There’s something in every writer that wants stretches of time to ponder, type, edit, ponder, type, and ponder some more. But in reality, if you wait for those times between the normalcy of life, you’re going to maybe get one chance a month to write. If you’re lucky! So, as a writer who works full time, has two kids in school, juggles church responsibilities, and has an autoimmune disease, I’ve learned to “sprint write”. Writing in 10-15 chunks of time, maybe 4-6 times a day. Lunch break, on my phone while I’m waiting in a parking lot for school to let out, etc. It’s not ideal, but if you truly have a passion to write and tell stories, you’ll push forward with whatever time you have. Waiting for inspiration, a perfect setting, silence . . . it’s not typically realistic. I wince, because I love it. LOL! But it’s just not realistic. LOL.

SHAREE: I think that’s great advice. For all or nothing thinkers like me, it lets us off the hook of believing we have to have entire days to write. Do what you can, WHENEVER you can and get those words in. Love it!

SHAREE: Do you struggle to find topics to write about or are you bubbling over with story ideas all of the time?

JAIME JO: Oh gosh. I think I have at least twenty more books in my head as we speak!

SHAREE: Well as a huge fan of your books, I can’t tell you how relieved I am to know I’ll be reading more Jaime Jo Wright books for years to come!

SHAREE: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about The Curse of Misty Wayfair?

JAIME JO: That’s it’s not your typical “ghost” story. I know some readers are very hesitant because of the “ghostly” elements, but I encourage you to pick it up anyway. You may find that it’s very easy to reconcile your beliefs to the curse that is Misty Wayfair. 😉

SHAREE: OOOOH yes! (she says grinning conspiratorially). The Curse of Misty Wayfair DOES NOT disappoint.

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ISBN-13: 9780764230301 Publisher: Bethany House

Jaime Jo, thank you so much for joining me today! Friends grab a copy and leave a comment if you’d like to be entered in the drawing for ONE copy of The Curse of Misty Wayfair. (US ONLY)

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FOLLOW JAIME JO:

Web site: www.jaimejowright.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jaimejowright

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaimejowright

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jaimejowright

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/jaimejowright

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/13916081.Jaime_Jo_Wright

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Jaime-Jo-Wright/e/B01421H0JQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0