Monday, March 26, 2018

A BORROWED DREAM, by Amanda Cabot

Grace Whitfield is the schoolmarm in Cimarron Creek, Texas. She's grieving the loss of her mother due to the town's inept physician, although the youngsters she teaches bring joy to her aching heart. When Austin Goddard, a handsome outsider, buys ranch property in the area and brings his young daughter to the school, Grace senses a man hiding a secret.
            Grace and her mother had planned a trip to Paris and now Grace grieves the loss of that dream as well. However, the idea is never far from her thoughts or her dreams.
            A Borrowed Dream contains a cast of fully developed characters, from her friend who owns a candy store, to an abusive parent of one of the children in the school.
            I really enjoyed this book! With themes of secrets held, big-city gangsters, and a returning prodigal, A Borrowed Dream kept me reading in every spare moment.
            Cabot tells her stories with her heart on every page. Although this is the second book in a series, the storyline kept me informed at each turn of the plot. A map and a genealogical chart at the front of the book also helps readers to track the action.
            My thanks to the author and Baker Publishing Group for my review copy.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


As we continue to celebrate the release month of The Mail-Order Brides Collection, I'm happy to welcome Kathleen Y'Barbo to my blog. The title of her contribution to the Collection is "The Mail-Order Mistake."

    Have you heard the joke about the guy who thought he made a mistake? Well, turns out he was wrong.
    We laugh at that joke, but the truth of it is sobering. We've all made mistakes, whether we acknowledge that fact or not. Maybe you put your trust in the wrong person.  Or perhaps you made a choice that you were certain would fix all your problems only to have the situation end in disaster.
    What then? Do you wonder where God was and how He allowed that to happen? To those of us who believe He controls everything, such a mistake can cause us to ask hard questions of Him.
    When May Conrad moved in with her kindly neighbor after fire destroyed her home, she certainly didn't expect to be thrown into the center of a Pinkerton investigation and be considered a prime suspect in a string of mail fraud crimes involving mail-order brides. After all, she felt God was taking care of her, but was He? May certainly doesn't think so when an infuriating Pinkerton detective insists her next choice is between helping him capture that kindly neighbor or be tossed into jail.
    Can you think of a time when you were forced into a situation where none of the options were good? Maybe you had an idea of what your life was going to be like, and then God came in and did something totally different.  Something unexpected. Something uncomfortable. I know I've been there. And while you're in the middle of that something unexpected and uncomfortable, you might be wondering where God is and why He's allowing this to happen. You may even wonder if God has turned away and forgotten about you.
    Good news! He hasn't forgotten. In fact, He is absolutely and certainly using this unexpected and uncomfortable thing. What's He using it for? Sometimes looking back that answer is obvious. Other times there may never be an answer this side of heaven as to why He has allowed something into your life.
    Through it all, there is one thing that never changes and is always true: God never makes mistakes. He's never wrong. And he never leaves you when you do. If you get nothing else from "The Mail Order Mistake," please do not miss that.
    I know May didn't. I hope you won't.

Here's a teaser:
1855, Texas
Pinkerton detective Jeremiah Bingham is investigating a mail-order bride scam bankrupting potential grooms. When unsuspecting orphan May Conrad answers his false ad, she becomes the prime suspect in the case.

Bestselling author Kathleen Y'Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee with than ninety novels, novellas, and nonfiction books to her credit, and over two million copies of these books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is the winner of the Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine and a number of Reader's Choice awards as well as a nominee for an RT Career Achievement Award. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Novelists Inc. Kathleen loves interacting with her fans and with book clubs. To connect with her through social media or send her an email, check out the links on her website at  And don't miss signing up for her newsletter so you’ll be the first to know about new books. She's got five coming out in 2017!

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Noelle Marchand is visiting me today as we continue celebrating the February release of The Mail-Order Brides Collection. Noelle will be sharing how she decided on the secondary characters in her novella, "The Outlaw's Inconvenient Bride."

Imagine the sound of a single cello playing a melody--deep, rich, vibrant. Now, imagine two violins and a viola joining in. Suddenly, what was once simple becomes complex with each instrument bringing out a new quality in the others. This is exactly what secondary characters do for main characters.  I always try to create well-rounded characters to interact with hero and heroine.
However, in writing "The Outlaw's Inconvenient Bride," I gained a better understanding of the importance of secondary characters within a novel. Never before had I tasked these characters with so much responsibility. With a huge portion of the story taking place in an outlaw gang's secluded hideout, the six outlaws who lived there needed to provide external conflict, help set the tone of the story, and make the time period seem believable.
It was also paramount, due to the short nature of a novella, that these characters be immediately distinct from each other. I ensured this by researching accounts of real outlaws who lived during the old west. Inspired, my imagination went into overdrive. I created six characters complete with a list of their past crimes, endowed with a weapon of choice, unique character traits, motives for mayhem, and outlaw monikers. Meet all six members of the Renegade gang in "The Outlaw's Inconvenient Bride."

Here's a hint of the plot: After a gang of outlaws uses a mail-order bride advertisement to trick an innocent woman into servitude, an undercover lawman must claim the bride--even if it puts his mission in jeopardy.

Noelle Marchand is an award-winning author and a proud Texas native. She enjoys spending time with family, dancing, and going on daytrips.