New release – Sapphire Blue by Karen King

Please welcome my fellow Astraea Press author Karen King! She’s here today with her brand-new YA novel, Sapphire Blue.


Sapphire Blue cover artCan love survive death?

“No one has ever walked out of Red. Once the Soul Catchers get you they don’t let you go.” Denny’s words scare me but I have no choice. If Will is in Red that’s where I have to go.

I’ve never really thought what it was like when you died. I’m only 16, too young to worry about that. At least I thought I was. I’ve heard about Heaven and Hell, of course, but it doesn’t look like I’m in either of them. All I know is that Will is here too and I need to find him. I can’t face spending eternity without him.


My mind is a mess. I can’t leave Will. I’ve got to help him. But how can I? I don’t know this world. If I don’t go with Grandpa and my family, I’ll be on my own. The Soul Catchers might get me too.

Soul Catchers. The very name makes me shudder. Have they got Will? What are they doing to him?

Will and I promised to love each other forever. How can I go without knowing he’s safe? I can’t leave him. But if I stay, how can I help him? My head is such a mish-mash of thoughts and fears I’m hardly aware of Grandpa leading me over to the silver bus, of climbing up the steps to board it.

It’s crowded so we have to go right at the back to find a seat. Grandpa gently pushes me into the seat by the window. I look out and see the guy still waiting on the steps. He’s not giving up on his sister. How can I give up on Will so easily?

That guy belongs here. He knows his way around, I remind myself. I’m new. I need to stay with Grandpa. Besides, the zone guides will find Will.

What if they don’t? I might never see him again.

The realization smacks me like a punch to the stomach, momentarily winding me.

I can’t go. Going with Grandpa might mean leaving Will forever and I can’t do that.

I can get another bus and meet up with Grandpa later, when I find Will. He could be on his way here, right now. I think of him walking in alone and confused like I was, of running to greet him, hugging him, letting him know that even though we’re here we still have each other. I have to wait for him.

I get up from my seat, almost jumping over Grandpa in my haste to get off.

“I’m waiting for Will,” I shout as I race down the aisle toward the closing door.

I can hear Grandpa and Aunt May calling me to come back but I ignore them. The doors are closing. With a final burst I reach them, slip through the narrowing gap and leap out, landing sprawled out on the ground. I hear the doors slide shut behind me and a loud whoosh. Scrambling to my knees I swivel around just in time to see the silver bus rise up and soar off into the sky, swiftly disappearing behind the clouds. Okay, so that’s why it’s called a sky-bus. Now what the hell do I do?


The guy’s standing in front of me, arms crossed, looking cool as chilled lemonade on a burning hot day.


Sapphire Blue is available from, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other online retailers.


About the Author

Photo of author Karen KingKaren King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction. Sapphire Blue is her second YA novel. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne.

Connect with Karen online


Author Facebook page



Amazon Author page


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7 Ways a Dog Can Drive You Nuts

As a dog owner, I can tell you that there are days the little furry beasts will drive you up the wall. Since I have two of the lovely monsters, Paisley (three years) and Cody (six months), rarely a day goes by that at least one of them isn’t doing something that gets on my nerves. So, here’s a list of seven of my dogs’ favorite annoying activities.

photo of two mixed breed dogs

Cody (5 months) left, Paisley (3 years) right. They look so innocent, don’t they? Copyright © 2014 E.A. West. All Rights Reserved.

1. Eating a favorite toy.

Dog toys come and go, but we go through a lot of toys in my house. Between a heavy chewer who is only now (at three years old) showing signs of being less destructive and a heavy-chewing six-month-old puppy, I’ve had to throw out half a dozen toys in the last two weeks to keep them from eating the small bits they started chewing off.

2. Hacking up an eaten toy at 2 a.m.

I didn’t get one toy away from Cody soon enough and was awakened one night by this horrid gagging sound on the floor. As soon as I turned on the light, I found him standing in front of a wad of toy that he had eaten earlier in the day (without my knowledge). In addition to being grossed out, I was so relieved that he had coughed up the wad of toy bits. Things like that often lead to emergency surgery due to intestinal blockage. Needless to say, I’ve been even more vigilant than usual since that incident. If you have a dog who destroys toys like mine do, I highly recommend tossing out toys as soon as they start ripping pieces off. It’s worth spending a few dollars to buy a replacement toy than to risk a big vet bill to save the dog’s life.

3. Bringing you “presents.”

As any dog owner can tell you, there are times when your precious pooch will bring you something disgusting and think you’ll love it. Dead animal parts, something from a garbage can, unidentifiable grossness… I’ve received it all. The cutest was when my puppy learned how to hunt a couple of months ago. He deposited a dead meadow vole on my front porch and was so proud of himself. I felt super special that he gave it to me intact instead of in pieces, but still. Ick.

4. Putting on “perfume.”

This is one of the nastiest things Paisley likes to do. She’ll go outside to play, and then she drops to the ground and rolls for joy. When she finishes, she loves to run up to me with a huge doggy grin and an expression that says, “Check out my new perfume, Mom! Don’t I smell great?”

Uh, no, dear dog, you actually smell pretty disgusting. She has rolled in everything from rabbit poo to mud to something unidentifiable that left me saying to her, “Oh, that’s nasty! You’re getting a bath NOW.” While I can appreciate different tastes in scents, some odors should never go near the human nose.

5. Finding their own snacks.

Dogs are eating machines. Kibble, wet food, treats… These are all perfectly acceptable to the humans in the dogs’ lives. Dogs, on the other hand, enjoy going on foraging missions affectionately known as counter surfing. I’ve heard of dogs stealing everything from sandwiches and pies to raw ground beef and entire loaves of bread.

Then there are dogs like mine. In addition to the aforementioned toys, they enjoy the occasional salad (grass), fiber-rich food (cardboard and other paper products), and other lovely, inedible items. Cody in particular has unusual culinary tastes. Just today I have taken away such delicacies as a dryer sheet and several fuzzy pipe cleaners left over from a craft project.

6. Acting as an alarm clock.

I haven’t slept past seven in the morning since adopting Paisley as a five-week-old puppy. Lately, morning has arrived around six thirty or earlier. While most people may not see this as a terrible thing — after all, most of you get up then for work, school, etc. — you have to keep in mind I have always been a night owl. That means I could easily be up writing until one or two in the morning (or later). The dogs don’t care what time I go to sleep. Six thirty comes, and they’re on the bed with wagging tails, licking tongues, and lots of bouncing to be sure I’m awake. Weekends and holidays are meaningless to my canine friends. Routine is all that matters, and sleeping in is a thing of the past.

7. Creatively applying the term “chew toy.”

Sticks, tennis balls, chew ropes, and Nylabones are all great, but my pups know how to find other toys and do so with great regularity. They raid the recycling bin, wastebaskets, the occasional laundry basket, the human toy box, and more. Cardboard, plastic, fabric… It’s all fair game in the minds of my chewing fiends. The Cody and Paisley when she was a puppy have also discovered an amazing chew toy that’s available all over the house — floors.

I know what you’re thinking. Dogs don’t REALLY eat floors… right? I used to think the same way, until I adopted Paisley. Cody is an even more determined floor-chewer. Here’s a little taste of what my sweet, loving, teething boy can do to a floor.


photo of chewed floor tiles

Copyright © 2014 E.A. West

Now that you’ve had a little glimpse of life with my two mutts, please help me feel like I’m not alone. What do your canine companions do that drive you nuts?

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Blog Tour – Mountain of Love and Danger by Gail Pallotta

Mountain of Love - Banner



TITLE – Mountain of Love and Danger
SERIES – Fairwilde Fairy Tale Reflections
AUTHOR – Gail Pallotta
GENRE – Mystery and Romance
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 32, 440
PUBLISHER – Mountain Laurel Publishing / Create Space
COVER ARTIST – Vanessa Riley


Jackcover two best



Jack Greenthumb finds romance in Fairwilde Kingdom—a different day—a different girl. Then a cruel mystery begins. Dad’s beaten, the family farm destroyed and Jack’s true love, Gwendolyn Bante, kidnapped. Jack’s undercover operation reveals Gwenie’s a captive atop a mountain accessible only by helicopter. Reaching her is a dangerous expedition even for a champion rock climber like Jack. However, a Greenthumb Acres employee plants a miraculous seed from Heaven for the rescue. Suspense mounts as Jack scales the perilous cliff to face a brute and a treacherous descent in this retelling of the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.





Lonely darkness fell around Jack as he slipped into his harness and put on his climbing shoes. He crept in and out of the moon’s shadows to the base of the alp and took hold of the strong plant, the itchy touch of it not a problem, the strength of it boosting his confidence. Fueled by the fire burning in his heart to find Gwenie, he stepped on the first node and glanced back. Just one quick look. He didn’t know why. Maybe something in his psyche wanted to see the ground from whence he’d come one last time in case he never set foot on it again.

He climbed up the next nodule and the next as fast as his feet and arms would take him. A sense of leaving the everyday world overwhelmed him as it always did when he climbed, but this time it wasn’t freeing. An eerie sensation sent shivers through his bones with every foot he scaled. The breaking of twigs, crunching of leaves, and howling noises below grew fainter and fainter as he ascended higher and higher.

“Whooo-whoo.” Halfway up he met an owl that turned its head in a circle as it sat on the highest limb of a towering oak. He pulled upward while pushing with his lower body as he passed boulders and scraggly bushes lit by the stars and moon. He searched with his right hand for the next node, found it, moved up and placed his foot on the spot where it had been. The jagged surface on this mountain could rip open a person in an instant, but it was Jack’s fear for Gwenie that gripped him. The yearning to hold her safe in his arms seeped deeper into his pores each time he forged upward.

His body ached as he pulled with nerves wound as tight as a corkscrew for wanting to hurry to the top. Soon his leg muscles cramped. A gray piece of granite jutting out like the seat of a chair with a slab for a back tempted him. How could he rest after what he’d done to Gwenie? He had to keep moving, but what if his arms and legs gave out, and he never reached her? His head throbbed with decision making.

Just for a second he let go of the living pole. His foot slipped, and he slid down the precipice, debris rolling, crashing beneath him until the belay caught the rope and stopped his fall. His head swam as he thrust the spring-loaded camming device into a crack and anchored the cable. He swung to his right and sank to the rocky seat. The stones settled below him and silence filled the darkness where he sat tucked out of the light from Heaven.

Two days ago he was a slap-happy player in love with Gwenie since childhood, but content to drink life’s single pleasures a while longer. Now the need to take hold of a more profound passion that seemed as fragile as one of Dad’s orchids burned in his soul. The breeze whipping around him blew away images of fast rides through Fairwilde with a blond or a brunette laughing beside him. He needed Gwenie. Please Lord, let her be alright waiting for me.

He stretched out his legs then rubbed his palms together. Upward.

He swung out, grabbed hold of the beanstalk, pulled up with his hand and pushed with his foot as a blast of strong wind swayed the sturdy stem. The stars grew dim then disappeared as clouds rolled over them. Raindrops hit his head while lightning flashed, lighting up the sky—nothing but dark space as far as he could see. Then the flash.

He pulled up with his hand and pushed with his right foot—pulled up with his hand and pushed with his right foot again and again through the black void cut by occasional lightning. The tiny glow from the lamp on his helmet did little good in this storm. Another burst of air whipped around him, and the plant quivered. He touched a flat spot. The one Fernando told him to look for? He moved his fingers around it.

Yes. Relief as strong as the gust that bent the trees swept over him. The top. He wanted to shout I’m here Gwenie! into the stormy night over and over, but instead he leaned forward trying to see a way into the cabin.


Jack Greenthumb’s a great guy. He’s young and comes from a well-to-do family, so he’s been having fun riding girls around in his new car. However, when his dad’s attacked and his true love kidnapped, one quickly sees he’s courageous, determined and devoted to his family and girlfriend. Fortunately, he’s also a champion rock and mountain climber.



Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her teen book, Stopped Cold, finished fourth in the 16th Annual Preditors and Editors readers’ poll and was a finalist for the 2013 Grace Awards. She’s published short stories in “Splickety” magazine and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Visit her web site at

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Long December…

In case you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, I occasionally get songs stuck in my head. While thinking about the fact that today is December 1 and the month ahead promises to be busy with writing, holiday preparations, and various other busyness, the Counting Crows song “A Long December” popped into my head and hasn’t left yet. If you’re unfamiliar with the song, or you just enjoy it, here’s the music video for it.

Boy, that song brings back some memories. Feel free to share your memories in the comments, if you’re so inclined. If not… Well, read on for some fun book recommendations (aka Shameless Self-Promotion *wink*).

I’ve been remiss in keeping you all up to date on my book news. Please don’t hate me! *ducks rotten tomatoes* In all fairness and honesty, I spend much more time on Facebook and share all my book news, updates, and general randomness on my author page. If you haven’t already liked it, hop on over and check it out! Actually, considering Facebook only allows my posts to reach a small percentage of followers, you might want to hop over and check out what’s been happening lately even if you liked the page a while ago. Remember, the more you interact with Facebook pages (liking posts, sharing, commenting), the more likely you are to see posts from those pages in your news feed.

Now, for the book news that prompted the previous paragraph. Running from Christmas, my newest inspirational romance, released from Astraea Press in time for the holiday season. I hope you’ll give it a read and leave an honest review on your favorite retail site, Goodreads, your blog, or wherever. Hearing what readers think of my writing is a great encouragement to keep writing and improve my craft! Plus, glowing reviews are always a great source for the warm fuzzy feeling that can brighten even the coldest, dreariest winter day.

**Shameless Self-promotion Alert**

You know what else brightens a cold, dreary winter day? A heart-warming holiday romance. I happen to have three such books in my writing credits (hint, hint). Just to keep things orderly, here they are in chronological order, starting with the most recent release. The first chapters of these books and many more are available on my website.

Running from Christmas

Running from Christmas cover artArmy veteran Alessandra Castillo just wants to be left alone. Life has been tough since her deployment in Afghanistan, and the holiday season makes it even more difficult. Unemployed and homeless, she’s currently living with her brother, who refuses to let her avoid all things social.

Enter Brad Kovac, youth pastor and good friend of Alessandra’s brother. He’s tall, gorgeous, and outgoing, three things guaranteed to catch Alessandra’s interest. At least they would have caught her interest before she survived an assault by a fellow soldier. Now all she wants to do is run from him and avoid anything resembling a relationship.

Will God provide a miracle in time for Christmas, or will Alessandra lose her chance for romance?


Running from Christmas is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.


Trust of the Heart (Veteran Hearts, Book 2)

Trust of the Heart cover artJosh Teague has dark memories from his time in Iraq. While he longs to share the burden of those memories with someone, he is afraid they will scare his girlfriend. Unwilling to risk losing her, he keeps the memories to himself and tries to keep a cheerful attitude despite the holiday season threatening to bring his mood down.

Leann Robak has her own set of memories causing trouble. Abandoned by her father when she was ten, she is devastated when her mother announces she’s taking a month-long trip to Europe over Christmas. Although Josh’s invitation to spend Christmas with him at his parents’ house holds exciting prospects, Leann can tell he’s hiding something from her. That knowledge leaves her wondering how well she truly knows him and whether he even wants to be in a relationship with her.

Can Josh and Leann learn to trust each other fully, or will their insecurities drive them apart?


Trust of the Heart is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.


Breath of Christmas

Breath of Christmas cover artWhen Esther Beauchamp agrees to drive a snowmobile during the Santa Snow Challenge, she expects a weekend of transporting snowboarders with no complications. What she gets, however, is the task of transporting a single snowboarder and babysitting his service dog while he’s on the slope.

Robbie Kendrick is instantly attracted to the pretty staffer volunteered to help him out during the competition. While she’s clueless about asthma, he appreciates her efforts to understand how it affects him and his snowboarding. Best of all, she treats him like a man who isn’t disabled and gets along great with his medical alert dog.

Then Robbie’s ability to compete is called into question due to his health. Is it in God’s plan for him to give up the career he loves, or will his competitive spirit cause him to lose his chance at a future with Esther?


Breath of Christmas is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.


Happy reading!

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Interview with Author Tara Mayoros

Please welcome my fellow Astraea Press author Tara Mayoros! She’s here today with an interview to help celebrate the release of Broken Smiles.

Welcome, Tara! What inspired your book?

My book was inspired first by lyrics to a song I wrote. It came to me in a dream. My entire book and characters evolved from those song lyrics. Then of course, the time I spent in China was fuel for my story.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time actively trying to get outdoors. I love to ski and hike and just be in the mountains. If I am home and can’t escape to nature, then I go for a run or walk outside.

What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?

The thing I struggle most with writing, is avoiding purple prose. This is when the writing is so flowery that it brings excessive attention to itself. Personally I love Tolkien and his extreme details. People don’t care for that much anymore. I have been told to tone down on my description many times. I cut 30,000 words from Broken Smiles! I defeat it my coming back to my work in progress after a long break and look at it with critical eyes. Good editors also help.

When did you first realize you were an author?

I first realized I was an author when this book was pretty much done and I would take it to critique groups and enter it in competitions. When it started getting good reviews and input, then I realized that maybe, just maybe I had something.

What kind of music do you listen to while you write?

Music is HUGE when I write. I have to listen to music. It is my muse. I don’t care if it has words or not. I like listening to epic soundtracks when I am in a fight scene. I’ll put a soundtrack up on my web-site soon of musicians and songs that inspire me.

What is your favorite part of writing?

My favorite part of writing is the escapism. It transports me into a different world and hours pass, days pass, before I surface. I also love the community of like minded individuals

What is the most important thing in your life and why?

My husband and children are the most important things in my life. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to stop writing and spend time with them. I have done much better at this as the demands of writing are so huge right now. I try to stick to a schedule and when they are home from work and school, I turn off the computer to spend time with them.

What author or literary character would you like to go to lunch with?

I would love to go to lunch with Edgar Allen Poe. It would be thrilling because I would fear for my life, along with give me food for fodder.

The fictional character I’d love to go to lunch with would be of course any of the heroines in Juliet Marillers fantasy novels. They are all so different but show courage and strength.

Which of your personality traits did you write into you characters?

I didn’t intentionally write my personality traits into any of my characters. Through my character Rafe, I was able to live my humanitarian dream, which will hopefully come to pass someday.

What is your favorite color?

Turquoise! I even have a turquoise blue guitar like the one in the novel Broken Smiles that I bought in China for maybe $5.00

What is your favorite animal?

A horse! It is my spirit animal. I love taking personality tests and anytime I do a spirit animal test, it is always a horse. In my work in progress YA fantasy trilogy, Vagabond, I have a main character that is a horse.

Top hobby you do when not writing?

I paint. I refurbish furniture. I ski. I work in a garden center and play with pretty flowers.

Do you collect anything?

Yes, I have an addiction for maps, atlas’, and globes. I have a huge collection of globes. It is my way of seeing the world without going anywhere. I inherited my wanderlust from my Grandmother.


Check out Tara’s book, Broken Smiles.

Broken Smiles cover artOne fateful night while performing at the Grammys, the pressure from the music industry becomes too much for Laidan. She is quickly carried off the stage, leaving the world audience stunned and amazed by her emotional performance. Accompanying her are a trusted bodyguard and a close childhood friend. Together they make for the jungles of China where she meets Doctor Rafe Watkins, a humanitarian who has reasons of his own for why he has chosen to live deep within the bamboo forests. The handsome doctor is building an orphanage and runs a clinic that fixes children’s broken smiles or cleft palets. Watching him perform his many acts of kind service, Laidan’s “broken smile” is also healing and she begins to fall deeply in love with him. She has finally found a place where she belongs. One problem – because of Rafe’s intentional seclusion from society for the past seven years, he does not know Laidan’s true identity. What will he do when he finds out? Can love conquer all, or is Laidan’s rock star fame too big for his quiet life?

Broken Smiles is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other online retailers.

About the Author

photo of author Tara MayorosAs a child, Tara Mayoros moved to Asia with her family where her love of different cultures and travel began. In college she satisfied her wanderlust by moving to China, filling her head with countless stories, and occasionally writing them down.

Years, marriage, children and many adventures later, she picked up her dusty pen and paper (or laptop) and realized that writing took her to different worlds and gave her the experiences that she yearned for. As an author, artist, baker, music teacher, gardener, and nature lover – she sees the beauty in the process, and the miracle, of creation. The Rocky Mountains are her home and they call to her whenever she finds herself in need of inspiration.

Connect with Tara online

Author Facebook page –

Website –

Twitter –

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New Release + a Giveaway – His Halloween Kisses by Kathy Bosman

Please welcome my fellow Astraea Press author Kathy Bosman! She’s here today with her latest romance, His Halloween Kisses. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

His Halloween Kisses cover artBlurb

Ali’s never been so scared. She’s housesitting for a colleague on Halloween night, but the lights have gone out, and terrible noises and crashes send her imagination into overdrive. When her brother’s friend comes to her rescue, he kisses her in the dark three times. Once back in the light, Ali is embarrassed at allowing him to kiss her. Byron tries to ignore his strong attraction for Ali, especially seeing he’s not ready for a relationship. When Ali finds out why, she runs away, but life has other plans. What can bring them together? Fate, faith, or the memory of his Halloween kisses?


The TV made a fizz, and the light from its screen compressed into a small dot. All the lights in the house went out.

A power failure.

She sat frozen for a moment, unsure what to do next. This wasn’t her own home. Where did they keep candles and torches? At her place, she stored them in the kitchen drawer, and so did her parents in her childhood house. Wouldn’t that be the logical place? Blinking furiously, she hoped to find some light somewhere to guide her to the kitchen without bumping into something. Nothing. She couldn’t see a single thing. There was no moon tonight. Probably as overcast as it had been the whole miserable, rainy, windy afternoon. She spread out her hands in front of her and walked slowly, one awkward, terrifying step at a time.

In the darkness, the sounds were magnified. Wind whined like a strangled prisoner through every window, door crack, and ceiling board. Something tapped at one of the windows from the dining room. Tap…tap…tap. Probably just a branch from a nearby bush. It couldn’t be a ghost or a zombie, could it? Her quickened pulse didn’t believe any logical arguments tonight.

Images streamed through her darkened vision—pictures of real witches, zombies with bared teeth and deathly pale faces, and horrible creatures with horrific wolf-like snouts and sharp fangs. She shivered. For some reason, tonight, Halloween was getting under her skin.

And not in a nice way.

A crash sounded in the kitchen.

Her leg remained poised for the next step, but she couldn’t take it.

She couldn’t go in there.

What was that? Terror strangled her a moment, making it hard to breathe.

Possibly only the Bauman family cat, their little black and white tabby. A smile curled her mouth in response to the calming thought. Black cat—bad luck. Yeah, she sure was overthinking this whole simple inconvenience of a power outage.

Something brushed past her leg, something warm, soft, and silent.

Hot tears sprang to her eyes.


His Halloween Kisses is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other online retailers. Check out the first chapter for free on Wattpad.


Giveaway Alert

To help celebrate the release of His Halloween Kisses, Kathy Bosman is giving away two signed copies of her novel Wedding Gown Girl and three Halloween swag bags. Click the image below to visit the Rafflecopter and enter for your chance to win.

Halloween Giveaway Banner

About the Author

Kathy loves reading and writing even more. She homeschools her three kids, so in between unsuccessfully explaining the difference between subject and predicate or how to divide fractions, she enters an imaginary world of troubled and passionate characters whose stories take over the page. Kathy lives in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, where the summers are hot, the winters cool, and bugs thrive. Her first published novel, Wedding Gown Girl, came out in 2012 with Astraea Press. She belongs to the Romance Writers of South Africa Group (ROSA) which has been her greatest support and inspiration the last few years.

Connect with Kathy online

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Supporting Those Affected by PTSD

E.A. West:

Have you ever wondered about PTSD? What it is, how to cope if someone you know suffers from it, and where you can learn more? Check out this interview with Welby O’Brien, author and founder of Love Our Vets. She shares some excellent information, and there are links scattered throughout the interview to resources and more info.

Originally posted on Quid Pro Quills:

Have you ever wondered how to help suffering individuals? Today, we discuss Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and discover how to support survivors of traumatic events.

downloadI’m honored to welcome author Welby O’Brien to the Quid Pro Quills. Welby is crazy about her veteran husband, who battles PTSD. She founded the spouse/family support network Love Our Vets PTSD Family Support, LLC, and wrote the book LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD. Although she has a Master’s Degree in counseling, most of what she shares comes from daily life.

QPQ: Thank you so much for joining us, Welby.
WO: It’s a blessing to help people know about PTSD and share that there is hope.

QPQ:  What is PTSD and what causes it?
WO:  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder results from exposure to an experience that is horrific or life-threatening. The whole person gets locked…

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Guest Blogger – Author Krysten Lindsay Hager

Please welcome my fellow Astraea Press author Krysten Lindsay Hager! She’s here today to tell us about her book bucket list.

My Book Bucket List by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Every so often, I get tagged in one of those social media games where people ask you to check off how many classics you’ve actually read off some list of 100 of the great books of all time. I was an English major. I should have a perfect score—right? Not exactly. Well, if I’m honest, I can speed read, I have been known to dabble in Cliff Notes in a crunch (don’t judge me, you’ve seen your share of those bright yellow stripe-y books yourself), and I could always absorb just enough info about a book in a class to skim through and gain a basic understanding of a novel. To put it mildly, college was not always a place where you could take the time to enjoy a classic when you were just trying to get through it to pass an exam or write a paper. And don’t get me started on when the literature categories come up on Jeopardy! People expect me to know the answers and I get the snarky comments about it all the time. All. The. Time.

So I’ve decided that it’s time to put my money where my mouth is (that’s normally where chocolate goes) and create a book bucket list for myself. I’m going to just start with just five because that seems doable. And I’m not going to put on anything that seems like I should read it if it really doesn’t apply to me. Like my eighth grade character Landry, in True Colors, The Call of the Wild did/does nothing for me and therefore Jack London need not apply here.

Now before I start, please don’t judge me and say in disbelief, “You never read that? Really?” because there are some books that were assigned and I don’t know how to explain it other than to say that the story didn’t stick with me. I can’t remember the plot, characters, etc. I know I read it, I remember turning the pages, yet if you were to quiz me on it I’d fail. Yes, Persuasion, I’m looking in your direction.

So here, in no particular order is my Book Bucket List:

  1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. This one seems like I’m taking on too much, doesn’t it? You’re probably thinking, no, this is above her, but hear me out. I did love the movie and I got very into Anna Karenina and I do like Russian lit, so this might be doable. If nothing else the sheer size of it will come in handy should I need to kill a spider.
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Somewhere along the line I got the reputation for being a huge Jane Austen fan. I guess I must have made a comment or something that implied that over the years, but while I’ve had Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion assigned in class, I’m pretty sure this one never was. I know the basic idea of it, seen a few remakes of it, but read it? Nope.
  3. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love Scott. LOVE him, but never finished this one. So if I’m going to call him my literary boyfriend then I better read it. Otherwise it’s like I’m cheating on him and I refuse to betray him that way.
  4. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. My main reason for putting this on the list is that my dad loved this book when he was assigned it in class years ago. In fact, he wanted to name me Eustacia Vye. My mom considered it thinking I could go by either, “Stacia,” or “Vye,” but in the end decided each roll call on the first day of school might be too much for me. I have the book sitting on my shelf upstairs and it’s about time to take it down and read it.
  5. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. See the movie and the remake, love the area and setting, so I feel this one should be included on the list. It sounds like the perfect cold weather, rainy day reading, doesn’t it?

And one bonus book, if I should find myself finishing those five. My good friend, David, who I lost almost three years ago, loved William Faulkner. He tried to get me to read, As I Lay Dying, for an online book club that we sadly never got to do. It was favorite, so I may tackle Faulkner in David’s honor.

So what are the books that would make it onto your book bucket list? I’d love to hear the titles, so please leave them in the comments!

True Colors cover artBlurb

Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically “unfriend” her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.


True Colors is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. Check out the book trailer here.


About the Author

photo of author Krysten Lindsay Hager

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

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Book Spotlight – For Love Alone by Teresa Howard

Please welcome my fellow Astraea Press author Teresa Howard! She’s here today with her new romance, For Love Alone.

For Love Alone cover artBlurb

Summer Skye Danvers

Summer changes like a shifting kaleidoscope from a naïve southern belle to the elusive Duchess of Tyndale to a mother, to a widow. Through it all, she loves one man, Lord Charles Zachery Clayton, the Earl of Somerset. Will she ever possess him as her own?

Lord Charles Zachery “Chaz” Clayton

Since Summer was little more than a toddler, she held a special place in Chaz’s heart. Indeed, she has been the guiding force throughout his life, though neither of the star-crossed lovers knew just how much until they are forced to wed. But will she ever be his wife in more than name only?

Summer and Chaz share joy, loss, danger, tragedy and rebirth. Through it all, their loves thrives. But the road to their happily ever after is strewn with obstacles. Will their love survive the challenges that face them?

In a world where marriage is a matter of politics and property, can they ever marry just for love alone?



“Why didn’t you tell her how you feel?” Nate asked once they were alone.


Skye’s despair turned to anger. Tears welled in her eyes. She dropped her gaze to hide her feelings and stared at the hands clutched in her lap.


“What would you have me say, Nate? Would you have me beg and plead? Wail like an infant because I am being sacrificed to a man old enough to be my father? Sacrificed so that I might erase the scandal created by my father, a man whose only sin was wanting to be loved by a flesh and blood woman other than his daughters, the father who promised that I could marry for love alone, even if he did not. Especially since he did not.”


“Well, I wouldn’t put it quite that way. She is our mother, after all. But you might have mentioned that you are opposed to this marriage.”


Skye felt her brother looking down upon her. She couldn’t bear to meet his gaze. He would see her pain. And no one must see her pain. “I mentioned it often enough to have postponed the event for five years. Not an easy task considering Tyndale’s desire for an heir. An heir I will strive to give him.”


Placing his gloved hand beneath her chin, he lifted her face. “You’re following the same path as Father. An arranged marriage, devoid of love. It can only lead to disaster.”


She covered his hand with her own. “No. I will not make Papa’s mistakes. I am stronger. I must be. Mother needs this alliance with Tyndale. Papa’s—” her voice broke “—death and betrayal destroyed her safe, secure world. She can’t leave this house for the scandal he created.”


Her grip tightened unconsciously. “Gracious Nate, he died in another woman’s home — one that he provided for her. As a Christian, I don’t judge him. After all, I don’t know what was in his heart at the moment of his death. And as a daughter, I make allowances for him. I loved and respected him. I always will.”


Though her words were powerful, her voice was flat, as if she were bloodless, dispassionate. So unlike the girl she had once been. She could see worry reflected in Nate’s eyes. But this was her way of coping with the pain… the loss… the future.


“As a woman, I understand mother’s position. She has to get away from here, but it can’t look like she’s running away.”


“Surely things are not bad enough to send the two of you fleeing across the sea.”


“You have to know what mother’s been through to understand. Her dearest friends pity her. You know mama’s pride. She can’t bear the shame. She’s hurt and she’s scared and she’s desperate.”


Unconsciously, she straightened, trying to appear more substantial than she felt. “She wasn’t reared to withstand a scandal like this, and she certainly wasn’t reared to live in a world where Yankees might burn the house down over our heads at any moment.”


Pain darkened her gaze. “And tomorrow, after Tyler joins you in this insane war, strangers will run Crimson Hills. Strangers, Nate. Mama can’t bear to see that. If I marry his grace and mama accompanies me to England, she can come home one day, after the war, when it’s safe… after the scandal dies down. When you boys are home to take care of her and Crimson Hills, she can return in triumph, as the mother of a duchess.”


Nate pulled her to her feet. He held her by the shoulders, looked deep into her eyes, trying to see into her very soul. “What about you, birdie? Marriage is forever. Are you willing to sacrifice yourself?”


“I will do as I must.” When he made to argue again, she pressed her fingertips against his lips. “Please Nate, I’ve accepted my fate.” Her voice broke slightly. “Don’t make this any harder for me than it already is.”


Nodding, he kissed the tips of her fingers then brought her hand to his heart. “You are a remarkable woman, Skye Danvers.”


“I pray to God Almighty that you are right.”


“I’m always right.” He dimpled.


She smiled as he intended. “I love you, Nate.”


“And I love you, Skye birdie.” His gaze suddenly turned mischievous. “You haven’t asked when your prospective bridegroom will arrive.”




“He won’t.”


“I don’t understand.”


“He sent someone to stand proxy in the ceremony.” He paused for emphasis. “An old friend of yours.”






Skye felt a sense of foreboding.


“Tyndale was occupied with affairs of state and unable to leave the Isle. So he asked Chaz…”


Skye no longer heard her brother for the roar in her ears. It was the far side of too much. The same afternoon Chaz had stolen her heart, her sixteenth birthday, he had made her promise to marry for love alone. Now he would make that an impossibility. A fist of betrayal squeezed her heart. Her last girlhood dream slipped through her fingers.

But she twitched not so much as an eyelash.



For Love Alone is available from most online retailers.


About the Author

photo of author Teresa HowardTeresa Howard is to historical romance novels what roses are to Valentine’s Day. This alluring southern belle has been delighting her audience with delectable tales of forbidden love, set in amazing times and places. Through her growing collection of novels, her readers can escape to a gentler time and experience the thrill of unbridled passion again and again.

For more information, please visit

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New Release – Emerald Street by Felicia Rogers

Please welcome my fellow Astraea Press author Felicia Rogers! She’s here today to celebrate the release of the third book in the Wounded Soldiers Series, Emerald Street.

Emerald Street cover artBlurb

What if one laugh changed your world?

Raylyn Morrison, a critical care nurse for wounded soldiers, has a problem. She cares too much. Dreams haunt her. The death of her patients leaves her distraught and seeking peace. But temporary peace is not enough. She doesn’t want to leave, but she needs to. Then he comes along.

Staff Sergeant Jack Williams understands loss — physical, emotional, and spiritual. Not only did the war take his leg, but it took his family and his desire to live. But the voice of an angel keeps him going. A voice he dreams about even after he wakes from a coma. Yet when they meet she is nothing like he expected and he wonders if he’s made mistake.

Fate destines them to be together forever, he’s sure of it, but something goes wrong and Raylyn disappears. She leaves a hole that only service can fill.

Chiapas, Mexico, is the perfect setting to forget her loss and work on her future. But when Jack reappears in her life, she worries her heart will break again. But after two years, she should be over him. Right? Do her new fears have a foundation or should she give in and allow herself to love him once more?

While residing in a country with a rich history and a tumultuous future, Jack must convince Raylyn he never stopped loving her…before it is too late.


“Can I join you?”

She jumped, surprised to hear Jack’s voice. Swallowing, she held out her hand. “Please.”

He took a seat. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“I don’t have any food.” Way to go, just blurt out something stupid.

He smiled and played with a folded napkin. “Neither do I. I’ve been eating in some of the restaurants here on the strip. Believe it or not, they have practically anything you might want.”

“I noticed that.”

“Did you order already?” he asked.

“I did.”

“So did I. I asked them to bring it here. That is, if you don’t mind.”

She shook her head. They sat quietly, and she winked and whispered, “Are you going to show me some more of your fancy dance moves?”

He laughed under his breath. “I’m not sure. Would you like me to?”

She smiled. “Only if you’re going to move your hips again.”

He laughed heartily and stood to his feet. She reached for his arm to pull him back down, but he’d already confiscated a rose and placed it in his mouth. The guests clapped as he danced around the room. Did anyone notice the slight hop to his step? The plastic prosthesis peeked out from under the hem of his pants. She looked away and forced herself to watch his happy face. Hands clasped atop the table, she tapped her feet to the music.

A smile widened across her face as Jack drew close and moved his arms like a wave in her direction. She shook her head. No way was he getting her to dance. He bent at the waist, his nose almost touching hers.

“Come on, it’ll be fun.”

Chin lowered to her chest, she tried to avoid his intense stare. The crowd cheered as he enacted fancy footwork before her table in an attempt to get her attention. Heat flushed her cheeks at the thought of his hands guiding her.

He snatched her hand and drew her to her feet. Warmth encased her entire body as he held one of her hands high above their heads and laid the other on her waist. He guided the movement of her hips, and her heart raced. Tingles raced along her spine, and she fought her rising attraction.

Jack held her close and nodded his head for her to take the rose from his teeth. Awkwardly, she complied, and he twirled her out. Her heart hammered so loud in her chest, she couldn’t hear.
He moved his hands to her waist. Others in the crowd stood and followed suit. Soon there was a line rounding the restaurant’s interior. The song ended, and they fell into their seats, laughing.

“You have a beautiful smile, mi tesoro.”

Heat flooded her cheeks. No one had ever called her their treasure. She smoothed a wayward hair behind her ear and prayed for a distraction. Still, her flesh tingled from his touch, and she ached to regain his nearness.


Emerald Street is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and most online retailers.


Emerald Street is a contemporary inspirational suspense romance and the sequel to Diamond Mine and Pearl Valley. Want to know what readers are saying about Emerald Street?

“Gripping!! Felicia Rogers does a masterful job of telling a gripping story that is emotionally packed. It gives a realistic perspective on just how prevalent injustice towards Christians exists in parts of the world… You will not put this book down unmoved.” –Yolanda Gamble, reader

“Felicia has once again marvelously brought 2 extremely likable characters to life. The story of Raylyn and Jack seems so real that I couldn’t help but laugh, cry, and gasp throughout the book. I loved seeing old favorites again from Diamond Mine (if you haven’t read that book it is a must!) and meeting new ones.” –Danielle Williams, reader

About the Author

photo of author Felicia RogersFelicia Rogers is an author of multiple novels and novellas. When she’s not writing, Felicia volunteers with the Girl Scouts of America, teaches at a local homeschooling group, hikes, and spends time with her family.

To find out more information about Felicia Rogers visit the sites below. She loves hearing from her readers.

Connect with Felicia online





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