Wednesday Words – Marilyn Leach

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Please welcome author Marilyn Leach to The West Corner! She’s here today to talk about Christmas shopping in England.

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I took a deep inhale of the scent that was a midday English mist and fingered the floral inspired book mark in my hand. A deluge of muted pinks, blues, and purples, it was a gift from an artist’s heart, crafted by hand, on offer in a tiny shop some would consider far too narrow and cramped to be successful. Three people plus the shop clerk nearly filled this humble place. I was Christmas shopping in the village of Lacock, Wiltshire, England.

photo fo English shop decorated for Christmas

My mind flashed to the mall near my Colorado home where over-crowded bustling, bright lights, and expensive shopping lists reigned.

My gift-buying in the tiny shop was an introduction to the fact that Christmas in England is a calmer, truly heart-warming, and much less commercialized affair.

Done with our shopping task, my English friends and I walked to the Carpenter Arms pub where we had a yummy lunch. The sizable blackboard, where menu offerings were posted, invited all to enjoy free mince pies and a caroling sing-song with the local church choir to be held that evening in the pub. The warmth of the fireplace added an extra tug to the event, but we had to make our way back to Berkshire and the Harris family home where we would continue preparations for friends dropping round for aperitifs.

Our celebration of Christ’s birth included visits to family in London and Hertfordshire, a midnight candle light service on Christmas Eve, lamb roast for Christmas dinner, the panto, and trips to decorated manor houses. But, I will forever remember Christmas shopping in a small English village.

About the Author

photo of author Marilyn LeachThough Marilyn Leach grew up in the Western United States, she became a dyed-in-the-wool British enthusiast after exploring the UK and making friends there. Her travels throughout England color her life and written works. Her most recent work includes the Berdie Elliott Mystery series a series of English whodunits that tickle the brain and add a giggle or two. Marilyn lives lakeside on the Front Range of Colorado.

Amazon | Website | Pelican Book Group

 

Candle for a Corpse cover artBook Description

Candle for a Corpse: A Berdie Elliott Advent Mystery by Marilyn Leach is a Christmas whodunit with plot twists, shifty suspects, and loving villagers. All of it’s sprinkled with English grace and humor. Who would believe an advent wreath could solve a murder? It can when Berdie Elliott’s at hand, a vicar’s wife and sleuth extraordinaire. Fresh brewed tea, and high adventure with a spoonful of romance make the season bright.

Candle for a Corpse is available from Amazon.

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Monday Mentions – Crash Course by E.A. West

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Imagine my surprise when I checked my schedule and discovered I didn’t have a guest scheduled for today! So, today I’m spotlighting my YA novel, Crash Course.

Book Description

Crash Course cover art“Angie, you have to go.”

I loved my Southern California life. Parties, dirt bikes, boyfriends—I had it all. Then with one sentence, I lost it all.

My dad made me move out and live with my mother. She’s strict and conservative, and now I’ve got a stepfather I barely know. Yeah, I’m angry! So I broke the rules and started hanging out with freestyle motocross rider Jeremy Stokes. But he wants to go farther than I do.

He’s got this rival, Brady Scott—a hottie who’s straitlaced, but he doesn’t judge me for having a different idea of fun. He sees me as a person, not just a female body. No matter how hard I try to push him away, he’s always there waiting for me to come back.

I’ve been trying to live in two worlds, but now I’ve got to choose.

Excerpt

“Angie, you have to go.”

I dragged my attention from the supercross race to see my father standing in the hall with his bleach-blonde girlfriend hanging on him. The woman’s skimpy shorts and deeply scooped tank top looked as if they’d been painted on. So trashy. I clicked off the TV and tossed the remote on the coffee table, shooting my father a disgusted look as I rose from the couch. It figured he would want some privacy when I was trying to relax. “Fine. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”

“Howard!” the blonde whined, tugging on his arm.

He glanced at her then returned his cold gaze to me. “No, I mean you have to leave. Get out of here and don’t come back.”

My jaw dropped. “You’re kicking me out?”

“I thought you’d be happy.” Dad shrugged fleshy shoulders covered in a stretched out T-shirt. “You don’t like me, I don’t like you, and Lainey can’t stand you. If you leave, everyone’s happy.”

“Dad!” This couldn’t be happening. Where did he expect me to stay? I didn’t have a job, and most of my friends didn’t fall under the reliable category.

He let out an exasperated sigh. “Just go pack and get out of here.”

I glared at him and the blonde as I stormed past. Slamming the door of my room only sort of shut out Lainey’s whining. The one good thing about getting kicked out was never having to listen to her annoying voice again. I grabbed the black cordless phone from my desk and dialed my mother’s number. While I listened to it ring, I pulled a suitcase out from under my bed and set it on the twisted sheets and blankets. So much for being more important than my father’s revolving live-in girlfriends. I should have known they would come first eventually.

“Hello?” My mother’s familiar voice sounded as sweet and friendly as ever.

“Mom, it’s me.” I threw a couple of shirts in my suitcase. “Dad just kicked me out. Can you send me some money so I can get by until I find a job?”

Her gasp traveled clearly across the phone line from Virginia. “Did you say your father kicked you out of the house? You’re sixteen years old! What is he thinking?”

“I doubt he’s thinking much of anything other than how fast he can get rid of me. His latest girlfriend hates me, and I have to leave as soon as I’m packed.” I added a stack of blue jeans to the suitcase. “So, can you send me some money?”

“I’ll do better than that. If you can get to the airport, I’ll make sure there’s a ticket waiting for you.”

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Crash Course is available in print and ebook from Amazon. Read it for free with Kindle Unlimited!

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About the Author

Photo of author E.A. WestE.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

Connect with E.A. West online

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Wednesday Words – Barbara M. Britton

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Please welcome author Barbara M. Britton to The West Corner! She’s here today to talk about platform.

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Platform: Not The Clunky Shoe From The 70s

Every year I peel hundreds of apples for a Christian school’s apple pie fundraiser. I enjoy the community, great snacks, and conversation. This year I sat beside a high schooler who would like to make it big in country music. He has plans to migrate to Nashville after graduation. I asked him if he had his music on social media, and he shook his head.

Here’s where the mother and author in me took over. I explained that he needed a platform and needed one now, years before he headed south to Tennessee. It isn’t easy being an artist in 2018 whether it’s writing or singing. Record companies and book publishers don’t want to start at square one with an artist. Having thousands of followers on social media translates into sales. With all things being equal, a company or publisher will take an artist with thousands of followers over an artist with a big goose egg when their name is Googled.

How do I know this? I’ve received the “you don’t have a big enough platform” spiel from an agent who liked one of my manuscripts. The story was good enough to show to an editor at a publishing house, but because I didn’t have the ‘followers’ needed to produce sales, I was rejected. Ouch!

What did I do after the rejection? I’ve worked steadily to build my followers on Twitter, Facebook, and to build a mailing list. At a recent conference, a literary agent said an aggregate of 5,000 followers across all social media platforms and your mailing list should be a goal for authors. Thousands of followers takes time to produce. And you want viable followers, followers who relate to you and like your art, not just followers who are using social media to find a wife.

My advice to the future country music star, was to start building followers on social media and to look into getting a domain name for a website. Platform can also be built with in-person meetings. Authors can teach workshops or classes. Professional organizations are a great way to meet fellow authors who become friends in the cyber world, too. Musicians can play at a local venue just as authors do local book signings.

If you are looking to start a career as an artist, diving into the social media world is a must-do in today’s technology-driven world. The earlier you start, the better. It’s the same strategy as making 3800 apple pies.

About the Author

photo of author Barbara M. BrittonBarbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little-known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. She is a member of RWA, WisRWA, SCBWI and ACFW.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jerusalem Rising cover artBook Description

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.

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Jerusalem Rising is available from Amazon.

Monday Mentions – The Putting Green Whisperer by Zoe M. McCarthy

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Please welcome Zoe M. McCarthy to The West Corner! She’s here today with her latest Christian romance novel, The Putting Green Whisperer.

Book Description

The Putting Green Whisperer cover artSuddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Excerpt

What was that all about? Shoo stared at the retreating caddy, whose blonde ponytail protruding from the back of her golf cap danced wildly as she hurried off. He craned his neck to keep her in sight as she wove through the caddies on the cart path.

Approaching him, she’d seemed like a girl on a mission. Her striking blue eyes, bright against her tanned skin, had focused on him, as if she’d rediscovered an old friend. No doubt about it, her smile had beamed at him. Then, bam! She’d done an about-face and slammed into the check-in table.

But he didn’t know her. Did he?

He mentally scanned his female acquaintances. No match surfaced. Unlikely he’d have forgotten the petite blonde.

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The Putting Green Whisperer is available from Amazon.

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About the Author

photo of author Zoe M. McCarthyA full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. She is the author of The Invisible Woman in a Red Dress, Gift of the Magpie, and Calculated Risk. Believing opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. Zoe and her husband live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Connect with Zoe McCarthy online

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Wednesday Words – Erin Unger

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Please welcome author Erin Unger to The West Corner!

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Never give up! It sounds so easy to say but at times nearly impossible to do, right? Well, God had to show me a thing or two about waiting on Him and not giving up. My writing journey wasn’t this beautiful gallop across the meadows into publication. As a matter of fact, it was more like the ‘are we there yet, National Lampoons Vacation’ type with one misadventure after another. …And I almost gave up many times. I even stopped writing for almost a full year in my attempt to show God I wasn’t supposed to be the writer He called me to be.

I learned some valuable lessons through that time—like don’t even try to talk God into a different plan. I tracked forward and then backtracked like a million times. And don’t think I didn’t want to do it His way once I returned to His will. But finding it was like a scavenger hunt in the pitch black. Move forward, hit your nose on a brick wall. Turn left, stub your big toe. Go back the way you came. But it was all worth the wait—and the learning—to do it God’s way and in His time. He says:

Lamentations 3:5 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

I have a full year of harvest in 2019! Five of my romantic suspense novels will be releasing throughout the year. Because I didn’t give up.

If you know God called you to do something, keep pressing forward. Work through the obstacles and learn from them. Grow strong in your faith as you seek the finish line. He’s there waiting to bless you and love on you.

About the Author

photo of author Erin UngerErin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Practicing Murder, releases March 29, 2019.

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Practicing Murder cover artBook Description

Graduate student Maddie Clare is never talking to her ex-boyfriend Joze Evans or God again. Broken from her past and Joze’s betrayal, she must go home for her Aunt Lonna’s funeral. But after a run-in with a stalker, who insists Maddie knows the secret that had Aunt Lonna investigating him, she’s afraid for her life and must accept Joze’s protection.

As the stalker draws closer, how will Maddie and Joze face the past and their love that never died? And will Maddie stay out of the stalker’s grip long enough to figure out what secret he possesses?

Monday Mentions – Irresistibly Yours by Andrea Boyd

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Please welcome Andrea Boyd to The West Corner! She’s here today with her Christian romance, Irresistibly Yours.

Book Description

Irresistibly Yours cover artMarriage is no picnic. At least the one Vivian Emerson shared with her late husband hadn’t been. Unfortunately, the devastation Craig had brought into her life didn’t end with his death. Not only did he leave Vivian without closure, he had to go and die in a way that made her the talk of the whole state of South Carolina and beyond. Now her daughter wants nothing to do with her because of him. She would just stick with the single life from now on, thank you very much.

For the last fourteen years since the death of his wife, Bo Manning never even considered wanting another woman in his life. That is until he comes to the rescue of a certain woman with haunting, jade green eyes. Despite Vivian’s resolve not to give her heart to another man, Bo sets out to patiently woo her into the loving relationship he is offering.

Irresistibly Yours reveals God’s fervent effectual call in the form of a classic romance.

Excerpt

Craig Emerson would turn over in his grave if he could see her now. Rolling down Highway 22 toward Myrtle Beach, windows down, radio blaring a classic rock station, the wind blowing through her short hair, with a three-inch wedge sandal pressing down on the accelerator. No one—not even his wife—ever drove his orange and black, 1970 Plymouth GTX.

“Craig, are you seeing this?” Vivian had been talking to her husband this way ever since his death almost a year ago. After this weekend, she decided these little talks would come to an end. There had been plenty of things for her to get off her chest—things she had wanted to say while he was alive, but he would never listen.

So many times in the past year, she would go out to the garage, sit in Craig’s car, and pour her heart out. Sometimes she would talk quietly while tears streamed down her face, and other times she would yell. But this was the first time she’d actually driven his car. So far, her one-sided conversations on this trip had been backed with laughter. This trip to the beach would be her last act of letting go. She was ready.

Vivian smiled at her reflection in the rearview mirror as she ran her fingers through her dark brown hair. Craig had wanted her to keep it long, and she had. At her first stop for a bathroom break, she had tried to brush through the long, tangled mess thanks to driving with the windows down. As the brush snagged another knot, she decided right then it was time for a change. A search for the nearest hair salon on her cellphone’s GPS landed her in front of The Cut and Curl.

After everyone oohed and aahed over the GTX and she finally sat in the angled chair, Vivian told the stylist that she didn’t care how it was cut, as long as it was shorter and easier to manage. Less than an hour later, she emerged with a slightly longer version of a pixie cut. The style suited her, and it definitely showed off her eyes. Why hadn’t she done this years ago? She headed back out on the road feeling light and carefree.

She crossed over Highway 17 and carefully turned into Walmart’s parking lot. The muscles in her upper arms tightened in response to the lack of power steering. No wonder people had been in better shape back when this car was made. As she searched for a spot closer to the door, she started making a mental list of things she needed to purchase to get her through the next four days.

Her ankle twisted a little with her first step toward the store. Vivian had not worn heels in over twenty years because Craig had only been an inch taller than her. She was determined to get used to wearing them again. In fact, she’d bought herself a whole new wardrobe last weekend. Gone was the drab clothing that now hung loose from her frame due to the thirty-five pounds she had lost in the last year. No diet or exercise had been necessary. The junk food Craig loved so much was no more. Plus, she had lost her appetite for a while right after his death.

Vivian tugged the bottom of her orange sweater down in the back. It was a warm day for mid-March, but the wind whipping through the open windows of the GTX had still been cool. She was extra thankful for the layers of clothing when the air-conditioned breeze greeted her as the automatic doors slid open. In less than fifteen minutes she was headed back out into the warmth of the sun.

After loading her groceries into the trunk with the rest of her stuff, she carefully made her way through the parking lot in the tank-like car. Thankfully, there was a stoplight that would make it easier for her to get back onto the busy highway. The light was red and she had almost come to a complete stop when the brake pedal suddenly dropped to the floor. The car rolled past the line until the front end completely blocked the first lane of the road in front of her.

She gripped the steering wheel and her whole body tightened as she prepared for impact. Her head jerked to the left at the sound of screeching tires and a blaring horn. A huge burgundy Suburban stopped just a few feet from her, close enough for her to see the scowl on the face of its curly-haired driver.

Vivian looked in her rearview mirror. A man stepped out of the car behind her and walked toward her. Fear coursed through her. The urge to roll the window up before the stranger got there was strong. But that would be silly. He wouldn’t harm her with so many witnesses.

Another horn blared as the angry woman in the Suburban finally moved around her, tires squalling once she got past the nose of the GTX.

“What’s the problem?”

Vivian jumped at the sound of the man’s voice, but the tension in her shoulders eased when she looked up into his smiling face. “The brakes won’t work. The pedal went down to the floor.”

“Have you got it in park?”

Why did she feel like she’d done something wrong? “I didn’t want it to roll any further.”

“That’s good. Do me a favor and pump the pedal a few times. Does it feel like you have brakes now?”

The pedal didn’t go down all the way this time, but it felt softer than usual, like it would give with enough pressure. “It’s better than before, but it still doesn’t feel right.”

“They should work well enough for you to get off the road. I’ll back up so you can.”

“Okay, thanks.”

She watched in the rearview mirror as his car backed up a good distance away from her before she put the car in reverse. As soon as the road in front of her was clear, her helper moved around the GTX and left the parking lot. He didn’t even look back as he passed by. The only person he’d been trying to help was himself.

What now?

She needed a wrecker but had no idea who to call. Craig had always been the one to take care of things like this, and before him, her father had done it. According to them, a mechanic couldn’t wait to see a woman come into his shop because he could charge whatever he wanted, and she would be none the wiser.

A car pulled up behind her and blew the horn. She hunted around on the steering column until she found the switch for the emergency blinkers and then waved the car to go around her. She was alone now. Craig was gone, and her parents were in Colorado. She didn’t even have a son she could call on. There was nothing left to do but handle this the best way she knew how. Vivian slipped her phone from her pocket and began scrolling through her options on Google.

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Irresistibly Yours is available from Amazon.

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About the Author

photo of author Andrea BoydEach of Andrea Boyd’s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God.

Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible.

Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC.

Connect with Andrea Boyd online

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Monday Mentions – Adrift by Jaycee Weaver

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Please welcome Jaycee Weaver to The West Corner! She’s here today with her recent Christian novella, Adrift.

Book Description

Adrift cover artI’m overwhelmed.Truth be told, I’ve been overwhelmed for years. Adrift in a sea of stress and grief and clinging to the life raft of responsibility.

It’s time I start swimming again. And someday? Maybe surf the waves instead of being pulled under and dragged out to sea.

God offers so much more for Erin than a life of treading water, focusing all her time and attention on running a small business while raising her kids after the death of her husband.

Through strangely poignant dreams and a series of run-ins with an unexpectedly attractive guy from church, Erin finds the hope she’ll not only feel alive again, but maybe even ride life’s waves victoriously.

Adrift is the first of several novellas tied to the fictional Grace Springs Fellowship in the full-length Everyday Love series.These journal-style novellas are roughly 18-20K words, filled with vivid imagery and reflect the ways in which God at work in the main character’s life.

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Adrift is available from Amazon.

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About the Author

photo of author Jaycee WeaverLover of Jesus, family, books, coffee, music, and crafting (in that order), Jaycee Weaver is perpetually pursuing at least one of her passions. She writes contemporary Christian romance stories featuring realistic characters in everyday situations where God is at work in big ways. She appreciates books where the characters face shortcomings, temptations, and adversity but always get their happy ending, so that’s what she writes.

 

Connect with Jaycee Weaver online

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