Wednesday Words – Nancy Shew Bolton

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Please welcome author Nancy Shew Bolton to The West Corner!

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I’ve really pondered over what I should write for this guest blog. I keep coming back to the event which has been my biggest challenge this last year. After 44 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart, my husband John died suddenly in September of 2017. Both of us had struggled with health issues for the last decade or more, but through these challenges had learned to work on diet and lifestyle changes that we hoped would make our approaching senior years into ones strengthened by increased health. After 11 years of being unable to work and living on disability, John had started a job, and was delighted at the prospect of greater income every month than what we were used to living on. He had so many plans, and was happier than he had been in years. He always said he wanted to live his life with all his might, and leave it with, as he put it, “nothing left in the tank.” And he wanted to die working. And his hopes and prayers were realized, as he died at work, suddenly and quickly, after a life lived on his terms, and one devoted to God and his family.

I never thought I’d really have to live without him. Though he had so many health problems, he always fought through them and prevailed, and so I guess I thought he was somehow as indestructible as a person could be. And to be honest, I figured God would make sure to keep him here because I didn’t want to imagine living without him. Deep inside, I was afraid it would destroy me, or make me mad at God, and compromise my faith. I felt ashamed for having these fears, but had to face the fact that they existed.

The first few months of my bereavement passed in a kind of cushioned blur, where I knew God was carrying me through the worst part of the crushing pain, and I could literally feel the support of many prayers lifted up for me. I held tight to God, and gradually began to face some of my disappointment, anger and discouragement, and to pour these out before God. I stopped being embarrassed about what I thought of as my shortcomings of faith, and realized I could lay these in front of God, too. He already knew they were in my heart, and I needed to trust His love enough to be honest with myself. This is still an ongoing process as I walk forward, doing my best to figure out my life without my husband. There are so many layers to this difficult journey, most of them painful, some beautiful and inexpressibly comforting. What I do know so far, is that I truly can cast all my cares upon Him, and He will sustain me, even when I doubt, or crumble, or question His ways. He won’t leave me because of my shortcomings, doubts or fears. No, He will walk me through all of it, because He cares for me. What a comfort it is to know that. God’s love never fails! Never.

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About the Author

photo of author Nancy Shew BoltonNancy Shew Bolton is a wife of 43 years, mother of five grown sons, and grandmother to a boy and girl. Ever since she learned to write, she would jot down her thoughts and impressions in little snippets of inspiration in the form of poetry, song lyrics, or short essays. About six years ago, she decided to try her hand at writing a full length book. She’s since written five works of fiction, two non-fiction, and is working on an idea for a children’s book, as well as more fiction manuscripts.

Writing a full-length work is much more challenging than she thought, and she has received so much valuable assistance from other writers, especially from the ACFW critique groups. Her husband has been supportive of her long hours spent at the keyboard. Many thanks to her beloved Johnny! And now she’s under contract with Prism Book Group with a novel set to be released in September 2014! What a journey!

Nancy loves to write character-driven stories about relationships of love and faith, since she is fascinated by the complexities within this emotional terrain. She thanks God and His Son for her life, her loved ones and the spark of creativity inside every person. She believes each person is a unique creation, with their own special voice and place in this amazing universe. God’s handiwork amazes her every day!

Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Website | Group Blog | Goodreads | Facebook

The Flip Side of Love cover artBook Description

In the unsettled days of 1972, music is the steady focus of Ruth’s life and the high point of each college day. But when her happiness derails in the span of a few seconds time, Ruth is left to piece together a life that becomes fraught with confusion and emotional turmoil.

Paul has worked hard to school his stormy personality into a career that satisfies his love of music and a desire to teach. Yet his own actions threaten to rob him of his vocation, his reputation, and his view of himself. Confronting his own shortcomings was not part of his plans. But when he meets Ruth, everything changes.

Amid the challenges of life in the politically and socially turbulent 1970s, both must find comfort and support through the music they love and each other.

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The Flip Side of Love is available from Amazon.

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 – A Love Restored by Kelly Goshorn

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Please welcome Kelly Goshorn to The West Corner! She’s here today with her historical romance novel A Love Restored.

Book Description

A Love Restored cover artWith pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to Society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.

Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earns him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect he craves. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?

Excerpt

Loudoun County, Virginia
August 1873

Benjamin Coulter cringed as the shrill tune hung in the air. That woman sure knew how to ruin a Sunday afternoon. Sounded like something was dying and needed to be put out of its misery.

He shook his head. All he wanted to do was rest a while longer. His decision to go around his headstrong superior and talk to Mr. Farrell directly about his boss’s inaccurate measurements had made for a nerve wracking week. That decision could have cost him his job. Thankfully, his discovery had been received well, saving the struggling railroad both time and money.

Benjamin leaned against the sycamore tree and tossed his line into the creek. A slight hint of remorse nicked his conscience. He now sat poised to guide the construction of the Washington & Ohio Railroad through the town of Catoctin Creek and over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Winchester, but he hadn’t intended to get his boss fired. If only the man hadn’t refused to admit he’d made a mistake.

Yep, it was all coming together. Just the way he’d hoped it would when he agreed to leave Texas and take this apprenticeship in Virginia. All he had to do was pass that examination next spring and…

He shuddered. The woman’s screeching escalated to a bone-grating pitch. She’d frighten the fish away for sure. Like most folks, Sunday was his day off, and he didn’t intend to spend it listening to her sing off-key.

Wedging his pole in the mud of the creek bank, he set off to investigate. Her ear-piercing slaughter of The Merry, Merry Month of May led the way. He spied his first glimpse of the lyrical assassin through the thin limbs of a dogwood tree. Perched on a large, flat rock at the edge of the creek, she swirled her bare feet in the water. Behind the rock sat a pair of woman’s boots—fancy ones. Too bad she hadn’t spent some of her shoe allowance on singing lessons. Her voice cracked. “The skies were bright, our hearts were light, in the merry, merry month of May…”

Benjamin winced. That was the fourth time in a row she’d sung that part. For the love of Pete, didn’t Miss Fancy Boots even know the words? He needed to put a stop to this so he could continue fishing—and napping. He stepped forward then stopped. The woman reached up and removed a pin from her hair, then another. Mounds of long chestnut brown ringlets spilled over her shoulders into the middle of her back.

Curls. He groaned. Why’d she have to have curls?

The skies were bright. Our eyes were light…”

Never mind. Curls or not, the woman’s voice could haunt the dead.

~~

A Love Restored is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

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About the Author

photo of author Kelly GoshornKelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.

Connect with Kelly Goshorn online

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Monday Mentions – Queen Mary’s Daughter by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

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Please welcome Emily-Jane Hills Orford to The West Corner! She’s here today with her book Queen Mary’s Daughter.

Queen Mary's Daughter cover artBook Description

There are so many possibilities that affect the course of history. One change, one small item overlooked, can make a world of difference, not only in a person’s life, but in the history and well-being of an entire nation. And then there are those multiple scenarios of what if? What if King James VI of Scotland didn’t succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? What if there had been another heir to the throne of Scotland? One who would secure its independence? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away? “Queen Mary’s Daughter” presents another plausible timeline, one that incorporates both historical fact and fiction with the endless possibilities of time travel.

Excerpt

“What?” the regent bellowed. “Not another Mary, and a Stuart at that. We cannot be related. Are we?” He winced in the dim light and bent forward to take a closer look. “You have her look about you. It is uncanny. You could almost pass for her. And that brooch. Where did you get that brooch?”
“I do not know, sir.” Mary Elizabeth took her time to choose her words carefully. She wasn’t sure how to answer about the brooch, so she steered clear of that comment, saying instead, “Are not all Stuarts somehow related?”
It was not the right thing to say. James Stuart, Regent of Scotland, was not amused. “Grab her. She must be a spy. Or a traitor. Either is punishable by death.” He pointed accusing fingers at the others. “The rest of you stay here. I will deal with this troublemaker.”

~~

Queen Mary’s Daughter is available from Amazon.

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About the Author

photo of author Emily-Jane Hills OrfordEmily-Jane Hills Orford is an award-winning author of several books, including Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Her most recent novel, “Queen Mary’s Daughter”, is receiving rave reviews as it explores the what if possibility that there was another heir to the Scottish throne. The author enjoys writing about the extra-ordinary in life, often presenting a realm of possible scenarios.

Connect with Emily-Jane Hills Orford online

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Facebook
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Blog
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Wednesday Words – Wendy May Andrews

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Please welcome Wendy May Andrews to The West Corner! She’s here today talking about adoption and its history.

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Adoption became something I was very much interested in when friends of mine adopted their little boy from Europe. It was such an inspiring and yet heart-breaking adventure for them. They have a wonderful, healthy son and I am truly happy for the three of them. But I was left to wonder about the children left behind. My heart broke for the children that don’t get chosen. And so I researched adoption as well as its history. Unfortunately, this didn’t ease my heartbreak.

My perusing around the internet did, happily, bring me many uplifting stories of families made whole by the addition of children in need of a home. But unfortunately, for every happy story there were several terrible, tragic ones. I even discovered a horrible practice called “rehoming”. If you adopt a child from outside the country, there are far fewer regulations surrounding it and, as a result, far fewer protections for the poor child. I would like to think that the fact that there are more sad stories is just because the happy families are too busy having a good life to write articles about it.

The good news is, in researching the history of adoption, I came across information about Mr. Charles Brace, one of the founders of the Children’s Aid Society of New York, and his philosophy that a farmer’s table always has room for at least one more. Beginning in the 1850s, he, among others, organized train loads of orphans from New York and sent them out to the Midwest to start new lives with new families. This was long before the days of welfare and formal adoptions. While I’m sure there was all sorts of potential for negative stories, there is also so much potential for happy endings in this scenario. In fact, if you research orphan train children, you’ll find that several went on to even become president of the United States. Thousands of children found new lives in this way.

From this my Orphan Train series was born. I tried to imagine how these children would reach their new lives and I came up with the idea that volunteers would accompany them. My first book – Sophie, the Prequel, tells of one young woman who didn’t end up accompanying the orphans, but the next three will tell the stories of three young women and the children who head to Missouri. I hope you will find these circumstances as fascinating as I did.

About the Author

photo of author Wendy May AndrewsI’ve been writing pretty much since I learned to read when I was five years old. Of course, those early efforts were basically only something a mother could love. I put writing aside after I left school and stuck with reading. I am an avid reader. I love words. I will read anything, even the cereal box, signs, posters, etc. But my true love is novels.

Eight or nine years ago my husband dared me to write a book instead of always reading them. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but to my surprise I love writing. Those early efforts eventually became my first published book – Tempting the Earl (published by Avalon books in 2010). There were some ups and downs in my publishing efforts. My first publisher was sold and I became an “orphan” author, back to the drawing board of trying to find a publishing house. It has been a thrilling adventure as I learned to navigate the world of publishing.

I believe firmly that everyone deserves a happily ever after. I want my readers to be able to escape from the everyday for a little while and feel upbeat and refreshed when they get to the end of my books.

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Sophie - The Prequel cover artBook Description

His pursuit of her threatens everything – except her heart:

Sophie Brooks has lived at the orphanage since she was ten years old. Now nineteen, she’s not only a resident, she works there as well. It’s the only true home she can remember and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep it safe.

When her budding relationship with the son of one of the orphanage’s benefactors threatens the charity’s funding, Sophie must choose between her loyalties and her heart.

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Sophie – the Prequel (Orphan Train Series, Book 1) is available for $0.99 from Amazon. Get it free with Kindle Unlimited.

Wednesday Words – Emily-Jane Hills Orford

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Please welcome author Emily-Jane Hills Orford to The West Corner!

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Writing historical fiction is enough of a challenge in itself. You have to keep the facts straight and constantly resort to historical references to make sure you haven’t accidentally changed a date, misspelled a name, or put the action in a completely different location than what the history books record.

Writing historical fiction with a speculative air of time travel creates a whole new set of problems. The very notion of time travel suggests that there is an infinite number of possibilities and scenarios that could change drastically in the process of jumping from one time to another. As an author creating this very complex scenario, it was important to keep tabs on what I was changing in the historical timeline, why I was changing it, and to what purpose. And, on top of that, I was mixing in elements of the real historical timeline, trying to keep what wouldn’t be changed as accurate as possible.

It was fun, but it was a challenge. “Queen Mary’s Daughter” is my first attempt at historical/speculative/fantasy fiction. From a young age I was fascinated with the life of Mary Queen of Scots. Initially I believed her to be a victim of circumstances. Perhaps, in many ways, she was, given the time period and the general opinion of women that ruled this era. Later I developed contradictory feelings for the woman. I mean, really, how simple-minded can a woman be to risk all her powers, her ability to do good and be a strong leader, all this for the love of a man? And not just one man, either.

However, I am Scottish at heart, even if only a small part of my ancestry can claim that connection. I feel for the separatists in Scotland who want to reclaim their dependence. After centuries of horrific English dominance, and history does dictate how brutal the English were to the Scottish (and many other peoples as well), the Brexit dilemma has once again refueled this fervor. So, I thought, what if? What if there had been another option, to prevent the amalgamation of England and Scotland? Studying history around the world, it’s pretty clear that amalgamation of two or more countries, or even communities for that matter, never really works for the benefit of all parties involved.

I researched more deeply into the issue. The whole amalgamation problem began with King James VI of Scotland who succeeded Elizabeth I when she died without heirs. I studied Queen Mary’s imprisonment at Loch Leven Castle, near where my ancestors lived (another close tie), and I discovered that she had given birth to twins while at Loch Leven (Lord Bothwell’s issue). The twins, according to history, had died at birth and were buried on the island around the castle. But – and here’s the big BUT – their remains were never found.

That captured my imagination and the story just took off from there. But there were a lot of rewrites, a lot of research and a lot of consideration regarding which ‘what if’ scenario would work best. The first couple of chapters were rewritten several times before I was satisfied that I had found the way into the time portal I wanted for this story.

And, yes, there is a book 2 in the works: “King Henry’s Choice”. If you read “Queen Mary’s Daughter”, you’ll meet King Henry. And he’s not one of the King Henry’s you know from history.

About the Author

photo of author Emily-Jane Hills OrfordEmily-Jane Hills Orford is an award-winning author of several books, including Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Her most recent novel, “Queen Mary’s Daughter”, is receiving rave reviews as it explores the what if possibility that there was another heir to the Scottish throne. The author enjoys writing about the extra-ordinary in life, often presenting a realm of possible scenarios.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

Queen Mary's Daughter cover artBook Description

There are so many possibilities that affect the course of history. One change, one small item overlooked, can make a world of difference, not only in a person’s life, but in the history and well-being of an entire nation. And then there are those multiple scenarios of what if? What if King James VI of Scotland didn’t succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? What if there had been another heir to the throne of Scotland? One who would secure its independence? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away? “Queen Mary’s Daughter” presents another plausible timeline, one that incorporates both historical fact and fiction with the endless possibilities of time travel.

Queen Mary’s Daughter is available from Amazon.

Monday Mentions – When the Italian Came to Stay by A. R. Conti Fulwell

Monday Mentions graphic

Please welcome author A. R. Conti Fulwell to The West Corner! She’s here today with her novel When the Italian Came to Stay.

When the Italian Came to Stay cover artBook Description

Like a fish out of water

Serafina Rinaldi wants nothing more than be free. Free from boarding school, free from English society, and free from her haunting past. When her father calls in a favor from an English friend, Sir Matthew Renault, asking him to take his daughter back to Sir Matthew’s esteemed family estate, Cainesworth Abbey, Serafina is ready to give in, and forget she ever wanted anything more.

As Serafina settles in, she finds that not everyone at Cainesworth is against her. Making friends with Lady Eliza Carthidge, Matthew’s cousin, gives Serafina just the ally that she will need, as her past begins to collide with the family at Cainesworth. Joshua Stone, a man from Serafina’s past, comes to Cainesworth after the unfortunate death of his brother on the Titanic, looking for solace. Together, the four uncover a mystery, and a common scoundrel, connecting their worlds, testing their faith, and delivering them to the threshold of a destiny that they have all been seeking.

Excerpt

When I finally went down to the drawing room, I could hardly breathe. Fear, anticipation, and nerves pricked at my spine like a thousand needles. I can do this. All I have to do is follow the plan. I took a deep breath, and opened the door. My first reaction was to angle my gaze with the ground, and slip in unnoticed; however, I could not be that girl tonight. As I walked into the drawing room, my eyes were fixed on Matthew. His blue eyes were wide with amazement, and for a brief moment, he glanced around the room, and saw what I already knew.

Every man in the room couldn’t take their eyes off of me.

Turn around! Run! There’s still time! I shook my head as if to erase the thoughts.

“Sera, you look –” Matthew began.

“The poor chap is so dumbfounded he can’t spit it out,” an eerie voice from behind me said. The man I’d seen earlier, rose to join Matthew and I. “I don’t believe we’ve met,” he said.

Matthew curled his left hand into a fist. “Mr. Windham, allow me to present, Lady Serafina Renaldi.”

“Pleasure, Lady Serafina,” he took my hand. I couldn’t help but shutter at the sound of my name coming out of his mouth. “How do you know the Carthidge family?”

Matthew glared at me.

“Papa and Matthew are old friend, isn’t that right, darling?” I smiled, batting my eyelashes at Matthew.

“Yes,” Matthew said, barely able to keep a straight face. “‘Old friends.’ ”

Elinor joined us. “So, Alastair, you’ve met our Italian. Charming, isn’t she?”

“I imagine about as charming as an Englishman in Milan,” I paused, wavering as to whether or not to continue. I fabricated some confidence, and looked to the Dowager Countess. “Don’t you agree, Lady Plymouth?”

“A foreigner is always a novelty, my dear,” she said. “But some people don’t understand the value of an Italian. Perhaps you could play something for us later?”

“I’d be delighted,” I lied, hoping she would forget.

“Granny, why do you never ask me to play? You know how much I used to practice,” Elinor whined.

“My dear,” the Dowager raised a scolding eyebrow. “The answer is within your question, for preparation, in its best application, must be recent and repetitive. Just because you sought to be a virtuoso, does not mean that you have succeeded.”

Shock exploded on Elinor’s features. “Well, how do you know that Lady Sera plays?”

“Have you noticed her eyes that instrument all week? Goodness! You’d think she was a thirsty traveler who had just seen a spring,” the Dowager chuckled at her own sarcasm.

Elinor huffed and went to complain to her mother. I glanced at Matthew for reassurance. He nodded.

“So, Lady Serafina, is it?” Alastair began. “How long will you be in the country?”

I swallowed. “Indefinitely, Mr. Windham. I am completely at the disposal of my champions on either side of the water.”

Matthew had to cover his mouth to hide his laughter.

“Well, when you have a spare moment, you must come to London and do an interview. Surely you’d like your story to be told under the finest English newspaper title?”

Here’s the punch. Lord help me. “That is very kind, but unfortunately, another man has already cornered that market. I was forced to sign a very binding contract, you know how these things are.”

Windham was taken back. “Another man? From another newspaper?”

“Yes, it seems the news is everywhere.”

Windham eyed me in a most unwelcome fashion. “Really? And what paper was this man from?”

Oh no, we never discussed this…. “I can’t be sure, it all happened so quickly.”

“Then perhaps you can recall the man’s name? I should like to see this article.”

Name? “It was….”

“Yes? Or was he a ghost?”

“Stone!”

“What?” Windham gawked at me.

“Stone was his name. Funny name isn’t it?”

Suddenly, Reynolds opened the door as dinner was served.

~~

When the Italian Came to Stay is available from Amazon.

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About the Author

photo of author A. R. Conti FulwellA. R. Conti Fulwell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and a Minor in Music, from Malone University, but her story-telling journey began long before her college years. Long ago, immersed in the Medici chapel, surrounded by the paintings of Gentileschi, the writings of Castiglione and Machiavelli, and the architecture of Brunelleschi, she found herself fascinated by the art of historical fiction, she began fashioning her own tales after the greats – Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, T.S. Eliot, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Amanda resides in Hartville, Ohio, and often shoots short-films within her hometown.

Connect with A. R. Conti Fulwell online

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Monday Mentions – Sofi’s Bridge by Christine Lindsay

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Please welcome Christine Lindsay to The West Corner! She’s here today with her historical romance novel Sofi’s Bridge.

Sofi's Bridge cover artBook Description

Seattle Debutant Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them. But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener, continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.

Excerpt

“Sometimes I think it would be easier,” Sofi said, “if I didn’t feel the urge to use these natural abilities—I think God-given abilities—but to do the more expected tasks of a woman in my social position. Strangely, my father considered it more socially acceptable for my sister to enter yacht races than for me to consider a career.”
Sofi raised her gaze. “But what about you, Neil? With all this talk about life’s purposes and the toil of one’s brow, what are you doing with your life?” The sun nestled between two peaks as she tensed her weight against the sun-warmed granite.
Her natural perfume intoxicated him—not the overpowering colognes of society, but the scent of soap, apples she been paring earlier—stirring the desire to touch her cheek, her hands, her arms. What if he closed the gap between them? How would the softness of her cheek feel against the roughness of his? What would her lips taste like?
His breath quickened.
Sofi’s eyes widened.
He couldn’t tear his gaze from her softly parting mouth. A muscle tapped at the base of her throat.
Had one of them moved closer?
He pulled in a breath. When a man and a woman cared for each other, they should speak the truth. He wanted to tell her about the thrift clinic he’d partnered in for the poor back home. Tell her of the work he’d done in the hospital. If he shared his pride in those accomplishments, he knew her eyes would shine in understanding.
Aye, right, ye fool. Then tell her you left the clinic and your position in Belfast City Hospital, as well as all your patients, to run to Washington State to be a gardener. How could he possibly tell her about the night that stole his life from him, and all with one slash of a knife? He rubbed the pressure between his brows. “Time we were getting back to the cabin.”
“Right. Of course.” In a fluster, she smoothed her shirtwaist. Her eyes that moments ago were shining turned a dull slate. She set her profile to him. “Foolish for the two of us to stand here any longer.”

~~

Sofi’s Bridge is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iTunes, and Kobo. Click HERE for more information.

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About the Author

photo of author Christine LindsayIrish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama. Christine’s books have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award (Twice), the READERS’ CHOICE AWARD, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite and the Selah Award.

Connect with Christine Lindsay online

Website

Book Spotlight – When the Italian Came to Stay by A. R. Conti Fulwell

Please welcome author A. R. Conti Fulwell to The West Corner! She’s here today with her historical novel, When the Italian Came to Stay.

When the Italian Came to Stay cover artBook Description

Like a fish out of water…

Serafina Rinaldi wants nothing more than be free.  Free from boarding school, free from English society, and free from her haunting past.  When her father calls in a favor from an English friend, Sir Matthew Renault, asking him to take his daughter back to Sir Matthew’s esteemed family estate, Cainesworth Abbey, Serafina is ready to give in, and forget she ever wanted anything more.

As Serafina settles in, she finds that not everyone at Cainesworth is against her.  Making friends with Lady Eliza Carthidge, Matthew’s cousin, gives Serafina just the ally that she will need, as her past begins to collide with the family at Cainesworth.  Joshua Stone, a man from Serafina’s past, comes to Cainesworth after the unfortunate death of his brother on the Titanic, looking for solace.  Together, the four uncover a mystery, and a common scoundrel, connecting their worlds, testing their faith, and delivering them to the threshold of a destiny that they have all been seeking.

Excerpt

When I finally went down to the drawing room, I could hardly breathe.  Fear, anticipation, and nerves pricked at my spine like a thousand needles.  I can do this.  All I have to do is follow the plan.  I took a deep breath, and opened the door.  My first reaction was to angle my gaze with the ground, and slip in unnoticed; however, I could not be that girl tonight.  As I walked into the drawing room, my eyes were fixed on Matthew.  His blue eyes were wide with amazement, and for a brief moment, he glanced around the room, and saw what I already knew.

​Every man in the room couldn’t take their eyes off of me.

​Turn around!  Run!  There’s still time!  I shook my head as if to erase the thoughts.

“Sera, you look –” Matthew began.

“The poor chap is so dumbfounded he can’t spit it out,” an eerie voice from behind me said.  The man I’d seen earlier, rose to join Matthew and I.  “I don’t believe we’ve met,” he said.

​Matthew curled his left hand into a fist.  “Mr. Windham, allow me to present, Lady Serafina Renaldi.”

“Pleasure, Lady Serafina,” he took my hand.  I couldn’t help but shutter at the sound of my name coming out of his mouth.  “How do you know the Carthidge family?”

​Matthew glared at me.

“Papa and Matthew are old friend, isn’t that right, darling?”  I smiled, batting my eyelashes at Matthew.

“Yes,” Matthew said, barely able to keep a straight face.  “‘Old friends.’ ”

​Elinor joined us.  “So, Alastair, you’ve met our Italian.  Charming, isn’t she?”

“I imagine about as charming as an Englishman in Milan,” I paused, wavering as to whether or not to continue.  I fabricated some confidence, and looked to the Dowager Countess.  “Don’t you agree, Lady Plymouth?”

“A foreigner is always a novelty, my dear,” she said.  “But some people don’t understand the value of an Italian.  Perhaps you could play something for us later?”

“I’d be delighted,” I lied, hoping she would forget.

“Granny, why do you never ask me to play?  You know how much I used to practice,” Elinor whined.

“My dear,” the Dowager raised a scolding eyebrow.  “The answer is within your question, for preparation, in its best application, must be recent and repetitive.  Just because you sought to be a virtuoso, does not mean that you have succeeded.”

​Shock exploded on Elinor’s features.  “Well, how do you know that Lady Sera plays?”

“Have you noticed her eyes that instrument all week?  Goodness!  You’d think she was a thirsty traveler who had just seen a spring,” the Dowager chuckled at her own sarcasm.

​Elinor huffed and went to complain to her mother.  I glanced at Matthew for reassurance.  He nodded.

“So, Lady Serafina, is it?”  Alastair began.  “How long will you be in the country?”

​I swallowed.  “Indefinitely, Mr. Windham.  I am completely at the disposal of my champions on either side of the water.”

​Matthew had to cover his mouth to hide his laughter.

“Well, when you have a spare moment, you must come to London and do an interview.  Surely you’d like your story to be told under the finest English newspaper title?”

Here’s the punch.  Lord help me.  “That is very kind, but unfortunately, another man has already cornered that market.  I was forced to sign a very binding contract, you know how these things are.”

​Windham was taken back.  “Another man?  From another newspaper?”

“Yes, it seems the news is everywhere.”

​Windham eyed me in a most unwelcome fashion.  “Really?  And what paper was this man from?”

Oh no, we never discussed this…  “I can’t be sure, it all happened so quickly.”

“Then perhaps you can recall the man’s name?  I should like to see this article.”

​Name?  “It was….”

“Yes?  Or was he a ghost?”

“Stone!”

“What?”  Windham gawked at me.

“Stone was his name.  Funny name isn’t it?”

​Suddenly, Reynolds opened the door as dinner was served.

~~

When the Italian Came to Stay is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million.

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About the Author

photo of author A. R. Conti FulwellA. R. Conti Fulwell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and a Minor in Music, from Malone University, but her story-telling journey began long before her college years.  Fascinated by the art of historical fiction, she began fashioning her own tales after the greats – Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, T.S. Eliot, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Amanda resides in Hartville, Ohio, and is often found shooting short-films within her hometown.

Connect with A. R. Online

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ARContiFulwell

Twitter – @AR_ContiFulwell

Instagram – arcontifulwell

Pinterest – https://pinterest.com/ARContiFulwell

Blog – https://arcontifulwell.wordpress.com

Snapchat – arfulwell

A Christmas Promise by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Christmas Blog Hop banner

Please welcome my fellow Pelican Book Group author Tamera Lynn Kraft! She’s here today with a neat idea for a Christmas activity and an excerpt from her new book, A Christmas Promise.

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Scripture Chain

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

photo of red and green paper chainIn my story, A Christmas Promise, Moravian children wrote verses that were important to them and hung them on the Christmas tree. On Christmas Day, they would read the verses to the family. Here’s a variation of that you can do with your children using a craft every child knows how to make.

Cut 3 inch wide strips out of construction paper.

Write Scriptures on them – one on each strip.

Glue them so they are connected together in a Christmas chain to hang on the tree.

On Christmas, each member of the family can take turns reading the verses, and the person who wrote each verse can tell why that verse is important to them.

A Christmas Promise cover artBlurb

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Excerpt

“We’ll need ashcakes.” John now spoke in Lenape. His Adam’s apple bulged as he grabbed the musket hanging on the wall over the fireplace. “And a couple canteens of water.”

Anna wrapped the cornmeal ashcakes in a cloth and poured water from the pitcher into the wooden canteens. “I kept some stew warm for you. Do you and Brother Paul have time to sup before your journey?”

“No, we must make haste.” John glanced out the window. “It’s already dark. We need to arrive at Gnadenhutten before it gets too late.”

She motioned John to the corner of the cabin, and whispered so the girls wouldn’t be alarmed. “Something’s wrong.”

“A delegation from a nearby Lenape tribe arrived at Gnadenhutten. They have requested to meet with leaders from both of our villages.” John touched her arm. “Don’t be troubled. They mean no harm. They only want to know more about what we’re preaching.”

Anna’s stomach knotted. “Is there any danger?”

“You fret too much.” A smile played with the edges of John’s mouth. But that’s all it did. “They only want to converse, nothing more.”

“How many will accompany you?”

“Brother Paul and Brother Luke.”

Her shoulders relaxed. Luke had been a trusted native helper to the Moravians since his youth. They’d known him for years in Pennsylvania. But Paul showed up at the village a few months ago.

“Why must you go?” Anna wrapped her arms around John. “You have responsibilities to your family. Let somebody without a wife and children take your place.”

John hugged her for a moment, and then pulled back to tilt her chin towards him. The lighthearted facade had been replaced by an intense gaze. “We came here to advance the Kingdom of God. Shall I pull back now?”

Anna wiped away the stray tear rolling down her cheek. “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.” She said the words in Lenape to reassure him, but they didn’t make her feel any better.

“Amen.” Brother Paul stepped over to them and put a hand on John’s shoulder. “Brother, we must go now.”

John nodded.

Anna swallowed back the lump in her throat and spoke in English. It seemed too intimate a moment with her husband to let Paul understand her words. “Will you be home in time for the Lovefeast tomorrow night?”

John’s brow furrowed. “I don’t know.”

“You can’t miss the celebration of the birth of our Savior.”

“I’ll try to be back in time.” John’s jaw twitched. “I promise to be home for Christmas.”

Anna wanted to argue with him, tell him not to go, but it wouldn’t do any good. She forced her breathing to slow to a normal pace. “Then I’ll make it the best we ever had.”

“That won’t be hard,” John said. “Any Christmas with you and the girls is good.”

“Brother John.” Paul nodded towards the door. “They’re waiting.”

“I’ll meet you outside.”

The door made a thumping sound as Paul closed it on the way out.

“Children,” Anna said. “Papa’s going on a journey. Come say good-bye.”

The girls ran to their father and hugged him.

“When will you be back?” Belinda asked.

“Maybe tomorrow in time for the Lovefeast.” John wiped his hand across his neck. “If not, I’ll see you Christmas Day.”

John took Anna into his arms once again and kissed her. The heat of the moment swept through her as she leaned into the kiss with parted lips. He rested his mouth against her neck, and then pulled away. After strapping on his supplies and musket, he opened the door.

The blast of winter filled the cabin and sent a chill through her. She scampered to the fireplace, grabbed her ladle, and dished stew onto tin plates. “Children, come to the table to sup.” The door shut with a dull thud behind her.

John was gone.

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You can purchase a copy of A Christmas Promise from these online stores:

Amazon

Pelican Book Group

Christianbook

About the Author

photo of author Tamera Lynn KraftTAMERA LYNN KRAFT has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio.

Tamera is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has curriculum published and is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

You can contact Tamera online at these sites:

Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com

Revival Fire For Kids Blog: http://revivalfire4kids.com

Giveaway

ornamentFind out how to win a copy of Tamera Lynn Kraft’s books and a Schoenbrunn pewter ornament at this link. https://thewestcorner.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/a-christmas-promise-by-tamera-lynn-kraft/

Read EA West’s guest post about helping those with special needs celebrate Christmas here. http://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/ea-west-celebrating-a-special-christmas/