Chirp and Chatter Pages

Thursday, November 30, 2017

PBG Christms Titles: The Mayweather Christmas Quest (Dana Pratola)

About The Mayweather Christmas Quest:

Of all the things to find in the snow… A husband?
The forecast is for snow—but she's dreaming of more than a white Christmas. Olympia Mayweather is sure there's only one way to find a husband - through a family tradition that says she must kiss the man of her dreams in a Christmas snow. When a reporter comes to interview her for the local paper, she's afraid he's going to make a mockery of her, ruining her chance for a Christmas love. David Santina isn't sure a magical kiss will make Olympia a bride. But spending time with the charming woman and getting to know her just might make David believe in fairy tales. He'll protect her from a tabloid story, but who is going to keep him from completing The Mayweather Christmas Quest?

About Dana Pratola:

God gave me a passion to write Christian Romance. These books don’t contain explicit sex scenes, but my characters have real desires, struggles and choices to make. A lot of the time they make the wrong ones. No subject is prohibited, but good always triumphs and God is glorified.
In my personal life, He has also blessed me with a wonderful husband and three dynamic children, all of whom are destined to make wide, colorful splashes in this world. We share our New Jersey home with three dogs. I have no hobbies to speak of, unless you include writing. I don’t.


Olympia sneered. It was hard to tell if this guy was sincere. He seemed to be, but reporters would do what was necessary to get a story, right? 
David twisted, reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small note pad and pen. “If you don’t mind…” he said, raising the items for their inspection. “How long has this tradition been a part of your family?”
“Oh, who knows,” Mom said. “It’s been going around at least as long as my great, great grandparents. Who knows before then? I suppose you could research it.”
“That’s what he’s doing now, Mom.” 
David smiled at her, then back at her mother. “And what specifically does this tradition entail? Are there certain guidelines, superstitions…?”
“Are you asking if we go through a blood ritual?” Olympia asked.
“Olympia, be nice,” her mother scolded. “It’s pretty straightforward,” she told David. “A Mayweather girl has to be somewhere where it’s snowing on Christmas Day, and if she meets a man under a Christmas snow, God blesses that union so that they’ll be together forever.” 
Olympia rolled her eyes. Not missed by David.
“I take it you don’t believe it,” he said.
“Olympia is my last single girl,” Sharon said. “So, we’re taking any edge we can.”
Olympia laughed. She did believe it—mostly—but didn’t want him to ridicule her. “I’m in no hurry to be married.”
“I know, dear, I know,” her mother said, patting Olympia’s hand. “It’s just wise to keep your options open.”
“Your other daughters were married this way?” David asked.
“God blessed two that way, yes; Aliza and Brinna.” 
“What about the other”—he glanced at his notes— “Helena.”
“We’re waiting to see how it turns out.” Her mother waited a beat before laughing. 
“So, where is your pursuit taking you this year?” David asked.
“Snow’s predicted in Duluth, Minnesota, so that’s where we’ll be,”
As they talked about where they would be staying, how long, etc., Olympia got up and made the hot chocolate. She was trying to take it in stride, after all, this was something special the family did every year, but now it didn’t feel right. She’d agreed to go to make her mom happy, but it wouldn’t be the same with none of her sisters participating. If she didn’t find a husband this year, there would be no one to deflect the attention. And now, having this stranger turn her family’s harmless fun into a blatant joke was irritating. 
She set a steaming mug in front of him and then took her seat.
“Thanks,” David said. “So, you fly out a few days before Christmas. Do you scope out the prospects, or just wing it and let destiny have its way?”
Unsure if he was trying to insult them, Olympia offered what she hoped would pass for a genuine chuckle. “It wouldn’t be much of a custom if it was based on searching out a husband ourselves, would it? What would be the point of going when we could do that at church, or the mall?”
David flipped a page in his pad and turned to Olympia directly. 
“Speaking of faith, would you say God is behind your mission to find a husband?”
His words forced her back in her seat. “I’m not on a mission. This isn’t a belief; it’s a legend, a game.”
He smiled. “But, you all take it seriously enough to travel to Minnesota, or wherever the snow is forecast.”
She didn’t like the turn this was taking and she had a feeling her expression said so. David’s smile disappeared.
“It’s a four hour drive, not a big deal,” she snapped.
“Three, the way you drive,” her mother said, shaking her head. “Mercy.”
Olympia ignored her. She felt herself getting upset but couldn’t stop it. “Some families spend Christmas in Tahiti, or South America, would you call that a religious quest?” 
David tapped his pencil on the top of the pad. “Sorry, I’m just trying to—”
“I know what you’re trying! To make my family look like a bunch of fools. Why don’t you come back on New Year’s when Ma dances naked around the mailbox so the fairies will bring her grandchildren!” She pushed back her chair and stormed from the kitchen.
Her mother called after her, but Olympia kept going, straight up to her room, where she resisted the urge to slam the door from its hinges. 



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

PBG Christmas Titles: The Volk Advent (Kristen Joy Wilks)

About The Volk Advent
An orphaned Siberian teen loses her job and home on Christmas Eve. Left on the streets to freeze, Faina flees to an abandoned castle for shelter. At the castle, she discovers the animal-torn body of a local recluse. No wonder Eurasian wolves are not recommended for the first-time pet owner. Can a girl with no past, preserve her future from accusations of murderer and a pack of escaped wolves?

The Wolves and Ms. Melora are Restless
Cheery Christmas songs blared through the orphanage, clashing with the background noise of hurried cleaning and howling wolves. The Christmas music I was used to. The orphanage had a total of five American Christmas CD’s that Ms. Melora, our orphanage director, had played constantly since they arrived free with a magazine subscription eight years ago. Those CD’s had been here as long as I had, and they sounded just as twitchy and nervous.
The cleaning, I was also familiar with. When I, Faina Smith, turned eighteen last month, I should have left the orphanage and struck out into the fierce Siberian countryside on my own. I know, Smith? But one takes whatever name they give you, when one shows up as a ten-year-old amnesiac. Anyway, despite my age, Ms. Melora was loath to hire another girl to do my work when she could get my toil for free.
The incessant howling of wolves…I’m afraid I was not as accustomed to that.
Oh, sure, we had wolves. Deep in the misty forest, along remote stretches of the dark Lena river, behind the stone pinnacles that slashed the thick forested ridges. Siberia was deep within wolf territory. Most of the time the creatures stayed where they belonged. But these wolves were different. They lived in a vast, crumbling castle that crouched like a shadow on the edge of town. A bit of intermittent howling was normal, but something was different tonight.
What? A castle in Siberia seems unlikely? Of course it is. Who in their right mind would build a castle in the far north? But that is the question, isn’t it? Was Kirill Volkov in his right mind? It’s hard to say. The man did own wolves, after all. Perhaps he felt he must live up to his name. Volk meant wolf in Russian. Whatever had caused his extreme fascination with the
origins of their family name, Kirill Volkov hadn’t built the castle. It wasn’t built here at all, only moved, and it was his father who’d moved it.
I took a cloth and wiped down the face of every child in the room. They were none too happy with me, but cleanliness was vital today, and so I persisted. After struggling to wipe the breakfast off eight squirmy babies, I paused in my work, drawn by the deep throaty song of the wolves.
I peeked out the frost-streaked window. It was late afternoon on January sixth, Christmas Eve. The village was lit with a fading, dusky light. A bitter wind kicked up a few small tornados in the snow, blowing them through the market. Wood smoke curled out of every chimney as each village family prepared the meatless feast that would break their Christmas Eve fast. When the first star appeared on the horizon, the birth of Christ would be celebrated with sweet smelling hay scattered on the floor, glowing white candles on the table, and twelve traditional dishes, representing the twelve apostles.
The Volkovs’ castle seemed separate from all of this. It rose out of the gloom of the forest, not quite in town but not far enough away to be forgotten. It clashed with the quiet ambiance of the small village of Zamok Drakona.
The name meant Dragon’s Castle or more precisely “The Lock of the Dragon.” I’m sure the village had a different name once. But when Kirill Volkov’s father was inexplicably gifted a gargantuan castle from the Ukraine and had the whole thing shipped to Siberia block by block, what else could they call the place? He had a wall of river rock built around his new home, but apparently ran out of resources at that point. No further improvements were made after that.
The castle sat, long and gray and dark, at the edge of town. Three stories of rain-streaked stone topped by a black slate roof. Row after row of leaded glass windows glared out into the Siberian gloom. Only one or two of them ever showed a glimmer of light. It had remained exactly the same for the past eighty years.
Eventually, the first old eccentric had died, leaving the monstrosity to his equally eccentric son. Our new hermit did little to improve the place, but he did bring in some pets. Kirill Volkov hired some men from the village to build an immense cage that stretched across the castle grounds. Then he acquired his very own pack of Eurasian wolves. These critters were well cared for and large. In the wild, Eurasian wolves top the scales at about 100 pounds, although there were always exceptions. I’d heard whispers that some of Volkov’s pets weighed in at the upper limit for their species, 160 to 170lbs. Eurasian wolves are definitely not recommended for the first time pet owner. But Volkov had gotten away with it so far.
Why I used phrases like “first-time pet owner” and thought in pounds and inches rather than kilos and centimeters, I had no idea. My vocabulary was a personal peculiarity. Words and phrases I’d never heard spoken aloud in Russian filled up my mind. Perhaps the smack to the head that had taken my memory was at fault. But regardless of my mental glitches, the wolves were usually much less vocal. Had old Kirill Volkov left his nephew to feed them again?
That had not gone well. Vladim Volkov hadn’t fed them at all. He’d tried the first night, but wolves demand strength and according to rumor, fear had wafted off that young man like stink off a week-old fish. After the first bite, he left them to starve. Their low angry howls had surely kept him awake every night until his uncle returned.
Kirill Volkov hadn’t left the castle since, as far as I knew. He would never forget to feed them. I mean how could he? They were incredibly loud. And wasn’t his niece at the castle right now, decorating for her big Christmas gala? Surely even a city girl would notice that something was up with her uncle’s menagerie.
The wolves continued to howl. The American Christmas music continued to blare. I yanked my attention away from the window and jogged to the older babies’ room. Ms. Melora had a guest coming, and she would be around to inspect soon.
The children in the next room were toddlers. None of the little ones wore diapers. Instead they cruised back and forth in a large communal pen, wide-eyed in their threadbare nightshirts and silent. But something extraordinary happened when I bustled into the room. Those serious little faces broke into grins and a few brave souls even clapped and reached for me. This never would have happened my first year here, but I held a dark secret close to my heart. I had defied Ms. Melora and my risk was bearing fruit.
I rocked the babies.

About the Author:
Kristen Joy Wilks lives in the beautiful Cascade Mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She has blow-dried a chicken, fought epic Nerf battles instead of washing dishes, and discovered a stealthily smuggled gardener snake in the bubble bath with her sons. Her stories and articles have appeared in Nature Friend, Clubhouse, Thriving Family, Splickety, and Havok MagazinesShe writes funny romances for Pelican Book Group, including Copenhagen Cozenage, The Volk Advent, and Athens Ambuscade. Kristen writes about the humor and Grace that can be found amidst the detritus of life and can be found at

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

PBG Christmas Titles: Radio Wave Romance (Katie Clark) and The First Noelle (Delia Latham)

Can an on-air feud turn into an off-air romance?

Hit radio show host Annalise Waters is challenged on-air when one of her listeners, social studies teacher Christopher Sanders, accuses her of being cold-hearted toward the needs of the local children’s hospital. Afraid of public backlash, the station arranges a fundraiser for the hospital, with Annalise at the head. But it’s a fundraiser that drags up painful memories from Annalise’s past.

Christopher hadn’t intended to be hustled into a fundraiser—he’d only wanted to make a point. But as he spends more time with Annalise, and realizes his mistaken judgment, he can’t deny the growing feelings for this woman who is anything but cold-hearted. Will she ever forgive his on-air accusations and see the depth of his true feelings?

About the Author:

KATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes inspirational romance for adults as well as young adult speculative fiction, including her YA supernatural novel, Shadowed Eden, and The Enslaved Series. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter

                                        About The First Noelle

Noelle Joy stopped celebrating Christmas ten years ago, when Trevor Holden skipped out on their long-planned Christmas Eve wedding. He destroyed her trust in men, crushed her belief in God, and left her cynical about love. Gone is the bright, cheery spirit of the girl she thinks of now as “the first Noelle.” Stronger and savvier, the new Noelle would never be found waiting at the altar for a groom who didn’t show.
When a famous-but-mysterious architect commissions her to decorate his mansion for a holiday event, Noelle finally returns to her hometown. Even as she finds an unexpected peace in facing ghosts from the past, her fiercely private client disturbs her. Michael Holliday is kind and considerate, but far too handsome…and hauntingly familiar.
Holliday didn’t choose Noelle to make his home a Christmas wonderland by accident. She’s the only one who can do the job he has in mind—and once she’s in his mansion, he never wants to let her go. But he’s hiding a secret that could destroy any chance of a relationship with the beautiful decorator.

A false persona. A shattering secret. Can love break down these insurmountable walls?


She pulled to a stop at a pair of imposing gates fronted by a guard shack. To her surprise, her heart pounded with expectation. Her mind wouldn’t be quiet either, tossing out a horde of unanswered questions.
Was Holliday an older man, or was he young for his accomplishments? Was he handsome? Maybe he was hideous, like the fairy tale beast, and that’s why he maintained such a fiercely private existence. Was he kind, as seemed to be indicated by the media-inspired title? Or was that all hype? Perhaps the whole Phantom Philanthropist thing was a ruse to hide his real personality, which might be anything from a mouse to a monster.
A man’s voice crackled across the air. “Identification, please.”
Holliday should be expecting her. Why all the cloak-and-dagger? Well, his house, his rules. She dug out her driver’s license and the guard took it, his alert gaze darting back and forth, side to side, as if expecting an attack.
Noelle bit back a giggle when he broke from his fastidious survey of the surrounding countryside to peruse her license, seemingly line by line. What did he expect to find there?
At last, he returned her ID and gave a single, terse nod. “When I open the gates, follow the drive and park by the front steps. A valet will take your car.”
Sure enough, a uniformed valet met her at the base of a series of steps leading to massive oak doors that would have served well in any medieval castle. The man actually smiled as he took her keys. Having passed the intense scrutiny of the portly guard, it seemed she’d earned a bit more friendliness.
“Mr. Holliday will meet you at the door, Miss Joy.”
Potted plants lined each side of the wide steps— gorgeous bursts of azalea, bonsai-shaped miniature wisteria, hoya, plumeria, fuchsia, and a number of plants Noelle didn’t recognize and was almost certain shouldn’t survive the cold of the Northern California mountains. Holliday must have a sizeable greenhouse.
The door opened as she reached the top step. A man stepped outside but seemed reluctant to venture beyond the shade of the overhang. He towered well over Noelle’s five feet, nine inches. Muscles strained at the cloth of his sleeves and across his chest.
“Good afternoon, Miss Joy.”
Something caught in Noelle’s heart, and she swallowed repeatedly. Had she heard that voice before? Why did it make her want to cry…or maybe scream and throw rocks through the beautiful stained glass windows that fronted the huge estate?
She allowed her gaze to travel beyond the broad chest to a firm, square chin, and upward. Nicely shaped lips curved into a smile that seemed a little shaky around the edges and revealed perfect white teeth. A straight nose, not too long, or too short. High cheekbones.
For some reason, she avoided his eyes, instead moving on to take in slightly longish, golden-brown hair with a smidgen of gray at the temples.
“Miss Joy?” A hint of concern tinged the oddly familiar voice.
Noelle swallowed again and forced her cowardly gaze to his, only to be caught in a dizzying vortex of confusion and familiarity. I know this man. I’ve met him before. Where? She stood up straighter, hiked her chin, and mentally donned the ice cloak that had stood her in good stead over the course of her career. Holliday wasn’t the only one with a media-dubbed moniker. She had one of her own, and the Ice Princess of Design wouldn’t be put off by a furrowed brow and a tense expression. “Mr. Holliday. I’d like to get started right away, if you don’t mind.”
Forced to meet his gaze—his eyes were hazel, but somehow she’d known they would be—she saw a flicker of something that made her breath a little shallow. She was way off her game. Was it because those eyes held a strange familiarity?
“Of course. Come in, please.”
He indicated she should precede him into the house…no, the mansion. “House” didn’t even begin to describe the residence. Noelle had seen a great number of multi-million-dollar homes in her line of work but nothing that compared to the one in which she now stood.
“This is…quite lovely.” She was careful to maintain the chill in her tone. “Professional distance at all times” was the mantra by which she’d lived for the past decade. It had served her well. No need to change it now, just because something about Michael Holliday made her skin tingle and sky-rocketed her heartbeat. “If anything needs improvement, it’s well hidden.”
His low laughter sent something almost unbearably electric skittering up her spine. “It isn’t improvement I’m looking for, Miss Joy. It’s a mood, a certain look…an ambiance, if you will. And since my event will be held on Christmas Eve, it must be themed very specifically around that holiday.”
She nodded, despite the rock of dread that landed in her stomach with a thump. Up until now, the only Christmas event she’d ever created had been her doomed wedding a decade earlier. After that, she never again celebrated the holiday she’d once loved most. She refused to have a tree in her home and never sent a Merry Christmas card to a single soul. Stockings, mistletoe, and hot apple cider—things she’d once loved—were now just unavoidable traditions she muddled through every year while counting down the hours until the bells stopped jingling, the carolers’ songs died away, and her favorite radio station started playing real music again.
Joy Designs absolutely never, ever, ever accepted a design job with a Christmas theme. She opened her mouth to tell Michael exactly that but remembered just in time that she’d already signed the contract, without checking into the specifics of what Holliday needed or for what occasion. She uttered a pathetic inner moan. Christmas. She’d signed a legal contract saying she and her team would create a holiday environment somewhere in this castle-sized home.
Noelle steeled her spine and pasted on a smile she was certain didn’t fool the handsome architect for even a split second. Well, the contract had not included a clause that said her smiles had to be genuine. Then again, she hadn’t realized it mentioned anything about a Christmas event either, because she barely noticed anything other than Holliday’s name. She knew better than that. Now she had no choice but to design a winter wonderland in this massive mansion.

Bah Humbug.

Author bio:

Writing Heaven’s touch into earthly tales, Delia Latham puts her characters through the fire of earthly trials to bring them out victorious by the hand of God, His heavenly messengers, and good, old-fashioned love. You’ll always find a touch of the divine in this author’s sweet tales of romance.
Delia lives in East Texas with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author of inspirational romance…with a finger or two immersed in the design pool, where she creates beautiful marketing material for other authors. Delia treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and loves hearing from readers.
Contact this author at any of the following locations:

Monday, November 27, 2017

PBG Christmas Titles: Once Upon a Christmas (Clare Revell)

About Once upon a Christmas:

 As settlement for her father’s debts, Caitlyn Hosier is forced into a marriage with the village recluse—a man no one has seen all the years he's lived in the manor house. A man surrounded by rumours. A man with a vicious temper. A man said to be a monster. A man who hates Christmas.
Hayden Shade hides his scars behind a mask, but the past never ceases to haunt him. A new life and a new start seem too much to hope for. Does he even deserve one? Surely not with a woman so wholly beautiful as Caitlyn. He longs to build a life-long relationship, but he daren’t allow her to see the real him until he knows for sure she loves him.
Desperate to find happiness with the man she's fated to marry, Caitlyn determines to uncover the real Hayden Shade. There must be something good behind the mask. But what if there's nothing more to him than the monster she could never love?

Carols played in the background. Caitlyn Hosier grinned at best friend Meredith Mantle. “Who’d have thought this time last year we were preparing for the Paradise Christmas Ball, and here you are married.” She paused. “And here I am, not. And neither of us are going to the ball, either.”
“It’s a shame things didn’t work out with Ty.” Meredith hung another ornament on the tree. “We’d have been related.”
Caitlyn shook her head. “Ty’s a nice enough bloke, but we have nothing in common. And I’m beginning to lose hope in David as well. He still hasn’t called since that one date he took me on. I know he’s far older than me, but age is simply a number, right?”
The door opened and her father and step-mother came in. Father cleared his throat, his face serious and pale. “Caitlyn, I need to speak with you. It’s urgent.”
Meredith stood. “I should be getting back. I promised Grannie I’d call in on my way home. She’s coping OK on her own, but she’s finding it hard with the anniversary coming up.”
Caitlyn walked Meredith to the door. “I’ll call later this evening. Bye.” She closed the door and headed back into the lounge. “So what’s wrong?”
Her father took a deep breath. “I got called in to see my boss. He made me an offer for your hand in marriage.”
Caitlyn’s stomach knotted and threated to eject her lunch over her feet. She pushed her hands through her hair. She must have heard wrong. “He wants to what?” she managed, reaching out a hand to turn off the music, the carols incongruous now.
Her father’s agonized gaze hit the floor, as if couldn’t quite bear to look at her. He seemed as if he’d aged fifty years since he’d left home a few hours ago. “He wants to marry you.”
“He doesn’t know the first thing about me. Why would he want to do that?”
“Because I messed up. I did something I shouldn’t have and this is the only way he won’t press charges.”
Caitlyn swallowed hard. “Press charges?”
“I broke the law. I’d go to prison for a long time, possibly the rest of my life.”
Shock turned to horror. “So you traded me for your freedom?”
Her father shook his head. “No. I’d never do that to you. This is your choice and yours
alone. He granted me that much.”
Caitlyn turned to her step-mother. She didn’t really remember her birth mother, only a faint recollection of perfume. Naomi had never wanted to replace Mum, opting instead for the term Auntie. “Auntie Naomi…”
“I’ve spoken to Naomi,” Father interrupted. “She’s in agreement with me.”
She turned away, her eyes burning. Marriage was something she’d always dreamed of, but not to her father’s mysterious boss, who had a reputation for being a hard liner. Caitlyn’s dreams lay with David, a local man from the same church. He’d told her he worked in an animal shelter, which she’d found adorable. They’d been on one date and got on pretty well. But this? This would end all that. Now her dreams lay shattered at the foot of the half-decorated Christmas tree. Scattered like the box of baubles she’d dropped, sparking in the light, yet out of reach.
“How…how long have I got to think about it?” she whispered.
“I have to let him know by three.”
She gasped as she glanced at her watch. “That’s only an hour away.”
Her father hurried over to her and gripped her hands. “I’m so sorry. If there was a way around this, some other way I could make amends, I’d do it, but there isn’t.” His gaze held hers. “If you can’t do this, if you don’t want to, then don’t worry. I’ll face up to what I’ve done and accept the consequences.”
Caitlyn pulled her hands away. “I need time to think. I’ll be in my room.” She dashed from the room, before she really did cry. She shut the bedroom door and leaned against it. “Oh, Lord, what do I do?” she whispered. “I can’t let Father go to prison, but to marry someone I don’t know? Someone no one has ever seen or really knows? Someone with a reputation like Mr. Shade has? Even the name makes him seem dark.” She shivered, wrapping her arms around herself as she paced to the window. “I wanted a future with David. He’s tall, charming, handsome, and he likes me. He took me to the most expensive restaurant in town, and then kissed me on the doorstep when he dropped me home. OK, bells and whistles didn’t go off and the stars didn’t explode, but for a first kiss I wasn’t expecting that.”
Caitlyn sighed, studying the view of her garden. “I have to do this. Please promise me I’m not doing this alone. I have no idea if this Mr. Shade is a Christian or not. So I may well end up unevenly yoked. If I can ask one favour, Lord, please let it be a church wedding. Work this horrid situation for good.”
Her gaze fell on the verse-of-the-day calendar on her desk. The one for today was Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“Thank you, Lord. OK, let’s do this.” She rubbed her hands over her eyes and sucked in a deep breath. Should she take everything? Would she be allowed home to get things she forgot? What did she do now?
Her hand rested on the locket her birth mother had left for her, along with a note saying ‘sorry’. The note had long since been discarded, but the necklace she’d kept. Not that it was ever worn—it didn’t really go with the jeans and baggy sweaters she preferred—but she’d take it with her. Decision made, there was no time to waste on questions she couldn’t answer.
Father paced the living room floor. He stopped mid-stride as Caitlyn entered the room. “What did you decide?”
“I’ll do it. I’ll marry Mr. Shade.”

About the Author:

Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. They have recently been joined by Hedwig and Sirius the guinea pigs. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.
Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.
Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American in some of them, the books contain British language and terminology and the more recent ones are written in UK English.
The first draft of every novel is hand written.
She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars.

Connect with Clare:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pelican Book Group Christmas Titles

It's always such a pleasure to share the great Christmas stories from my publisher, Pelican Book Group. Every year, they publish wonderful Christmas tales by a variety of PBG authors...including me!

Starting tomorrow, and for the next couple of weeks, I'll be highlighting several PBG Christmas books -- some from this year's Extravaganza, and some from previous years. I hope you all enjoy them as much as we enjoy writing them. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Guest Author: Carole Brown

I'm Not Your Average Spy

Carole Brown

You wouldn't think romance would play a part in being a spy, but sometimes it does. Wives, girlfriends, and new friends that tie into a spy's life—all of these relationships allow romance to blossom...and increase the danger.
When you play with danger, you'd better have a backbone of steel, a fortitude that gets you through the best and worst of situations. Sometimes it can be routine actions, but at other times, danger is present. You're living in serious conditions, playing at being someone you're not, loving the thought that you're living on the edge and beating the chances.
Knowledge that you steal, that you know, when no one else does is your job description. Knowledge that you can share...or hide. Information that most times is important and for which is highly prized with monetary and other valuable items as rewards.
Secrets are sought after and then shared with the person desiring to know them. In the case of countries and agencies, it's important NOT to share them. In the case of spies, it's important to find them and share.
Living overseas and/or on home soil can be advantageous and profitable. It's alluring to many spies to live in beautiful countries and homes, enjoy social privileges, and to have the best when, if left in their home countries, life might never reach that plateau of pleasure.
Of course, being a spy includes the possibility of getting caught. Most times a prison sentence is issued, and at times, in some countries, death is used as a manner of punishment.
From Biblical Times until day's world, countries and groups have had their spies. Some on home soil and some serving overseas. Some spies are well known and some of whom may never be known. Many are successful for years, passing on information and secrets, receiving vast sums of money while others receive little or no pay. But the price if caught?
  •      Disgrace
  •      Prison
  •      Death, at times

A few real-life, famous spies:

Biblical Spy:
         In the book of Joshua, when Joshua sent two men to Jericho to spy out the land, they went to Rahab's house. She hid them on the rooftop among stalks of flax, and they escaped with both information and their lives.
U.S. Spies:
  • During WWII Martin Scofield Quigley, Jr., used his publishing position as a cover to gather intelligence in Ireland where many influential people favored the Axis, and in Italy on behalf of the US Office of Strategic Services. 
  • Claire Maybelle Snyder (December 2, 1907 – May 22, 1960), also known as Clara Fuentes, Clara Phillips, Dorathy Fuentes as well as High Pockets, was an American spy, entertainer, club owner, and author most noted for her exploits in the Japanese-occupied Philippines.

Foreign Spies who worked on American Soil:
  • Aldrich Ames: obtained work with the CIA and specialized in Russian Intelligence. It was estimated he received $2.5 million from Russia and was sentenced in the U.S. with life in prison.
  • David Boone: Served in the U.S. army as a Signals Intelligence Analyst. Offered to spy for Russia and received $20,000 a year. Caught, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

In my WWII Spies series, I focus on spies serving the U.S. The first book, With Music in Their Hearts, has Tyrell Walker, enlisted as an unknown, civilian spy who's been asked to find the spy serving Germany and living in Cincinnati. Along with danger and romance, Tyrell finds that secrets and living on the edge is just as much a part of his current lifestyle as being a minister.
In the second book (coming this month) A Flute in the Willows, Jerry Patterson, is recruited to head to Germany. There he not only is able to fulfill the request from his government, but comes in contact with danger and an injury that almost takes his life. Only God and his wife are able to draw him back to himself after he returns to America.

Writing about spies opened my eyes to the extreme conditions and dangers that are a part of the lives of these—both bad and good—men and women. My hat's off to the good ones who use their highly developed senses and intelligences for the good of our country!

About With Music in Their Hearts:

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.
He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.
While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.
As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?
Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

About Carole Brown:

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

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