Mail Order Roslyn by Zina Abbott – Great Summer Reads 2020



My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen name I use for my American historical romance novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.
I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.


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Roslyn Welsh is sent by stagecoach to Junction City to marry a man with whom her aunt and guardian, without Roslyn’s knowledge, had been corresponding. His requirements for a wife were that she must be at least twenty-one years of age with a family Bible for proof, and she must have no children. Only, Roslyn is not quite twenty-one, she has a baby, and her aunt has no intention of sending the family Bible with her. The marriage prospect turns into a disaster. Stuck in a strange town with no money, she is told there is no work for a decent woman with a baby. To allow herself time to figure what to do with her future, Roslyn accepts an offer to ride the stagecoach to the Ellsworth B.O.D. Stagecoach station to help the stationmaster’s wife.
        Elam Stewart survived the American Civil War, but his left leg from above the knee down did not. With no home to return to and realizing there are very few people willing to hire a man with only one good leg, he’s convinced he has no future. While working as a day laborer in the local Junction City livery, he becomes intrigued by a visitor named Ross who is anxious to spend time with the horses. Elam discovers Ross’s secret. Then he learns where Ross intends to seek work. Even though he does not have a future, he does have a Spencer repeating rifle. He can have a purpose.
        Roslyn and Elam ride the same stagecoach to the Ellsworth Station on the Kansas frontier. Between resentments among the stock tenders, difficulties with animals that pass through the station, and the threat of attacks by the Cheyenne Native Americans, is there a future for Roslyn and Elam at the station? Or will their future take them on another stagecoach ride away from Ellsworth?
        Please look for my other two books in the Widows, Brides & Secret Babies series, Mail Order Lorena and Mail Order Penelope, that will be published this summer. The three stories are related and part or all of them involve  the stagecoaches and stations on the Kansas frontier in the late 1860s.


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Snippet:

“Reckon I’m steady.” Still staring forward, a slight flush colored Elam’s face. He slowly shook his head. “Figure it’s a sorry day when a man needs a woman to help him stand on his feet.”
In addition to his declaration he had regained his balance and could stay upright, Roslyn, sensing his feelings of embarrassment, stayed quiet. She also noticed that Elam did not step away from her. His arm still held her next to his side. “Elam, don’t feel that way. You have helped me so many times. Why do you feel uncomfortable that this one time I was able to help you?”
He shook his head. “Not how it’s supposed to be. I know, losing this leg and all, things done changed for me. I ain’t going to have the life a whole man can expect.”
“You are a whole man, Elam. You lost your leg in the war, but you’re still alive. Yes, getting around is more difficult for you now, but everything that makes you a whole person is still there.”





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The Guise of a Gentleman by Donna Hatch – Great Summer Reads 2020




Multi-award-winning author of 25 best-selling Regency Historical Romances, Donna Hatch is a hopeful romantic and an adventurer at heart. Each book she writes is filled with wit and heart and plenty of swoon-worthy romance. Donna sings, plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Her family, including six children and two cats, recently left their native Arizona for the Pacific coast of the US. No matter where they live, she and her husband of over twenty years are proof that there truly is a happily ever after.



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The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.

A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment from the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.

The Guise of a Gentleman is a wholesome Regency Romance, a.k.a. “clean” that explores finding one’s true self, loyalty, honor, and trusting loved ones. With plenty of swashbuckling action, it provides a several good twists that play off of familiar situations and proudly proclaims the redemptive power of love. 



Snippet:

His lazy laughter rang out, filling her with slow warmth.
She barely controlled the impulse to smile. Instead, she raised her chin while trying to look appropriately irritated. “You laugh at me, sir?”
“You are a sheer delight.” He enclosed one of her hands between both of his. Though terribly, terribly improper, the sweet possessiveness of his gesture sent giddy little thrills through her. “Do you know that in many countries, once a person has saved the life of another, that person must remain with his savior until the debt is repaid? If we were to honor that, then I must be with you, watching over you, every minute of every day.”
She considered remaining in this man’s presence every moment of every day. Definitely not. Her good sense would never survive it.
She disentangled her hand and said primly, “Fortunately, we do not have such an inconvenient custom in England.”





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Tarragon: Key Keeper by Karlie Lucas – Great Summer Reads 2020




Karlie Lucas is a school crossing guard by day and a writer/artist by night. 

A graduate of Southern Utah University, Karlie received a B.A. in Creative Writing, with a minor in art. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, The International English Honor Society, SCBWI, as well as ANWA, the American Night Writers Association.
Karlie is interested in all things magical and mysterious, especially elves and dragons. She is an avid fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling.

When not writing, Karlie can often be found drawing, baking, watching her favorite old school shows, or just spending time with her family.

She currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a cat named Kally. 

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 For hundreds of years, the gates of Tarragon have been sealed from the outside. Prophecy speaks of the day the last Key Keeper will return and wake the dragons from their spell-cast slumber, returning them to their rightful home.


Seeking to fulfill her father’s dying wish, Anwen Porter travels to the Drakonii Mountains where she meets Tyler, a mysterious local with a secret. With his help, she learns more about her clouded past and her own abilities. But when Courtney, a lovesick mage, tries to insert herself into their plans, things begin to go horribly wrong.
With death threatening at every turn, Anwen must learn to rely on her newfound friends to survive. 

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Snippet:

Anwen watched, transfixed. She felt like she was watching a movie, except she had a front row view of everything. When the jackal-like creature attacked Courtney, she found herself closer to the edge of the drop behind her.
Why were they after her? And why were her new friends defending her? She shook her head, trying to make sense out of everything, but it was all happening too fast.
Two more creatures broke off from the fray, moving towards the two women on the precipice, one from each side. Courtney feinted towards one, then the other, not sure which to expound her energy on. They were both closing in at the same pace. “Back!” She waved the spear in front of her, trying to ward them both off.
One Fallen jumped forward, growling menacingly to distract her as the other raced for the other side. Courtney pierced the one through the heart and heaved it away as the other sped past her, towards Anwen.
Courtney turned to offer warning, hoping to check its flight with her weapon. Instead, she heard a scream, then a loud splash as something fell into the water below. She turned in time to see another bout of steam billow, noticing that Anwen was missing. Courtney called out to her, running to the cliff’s edge.




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All the Wrong Places by Rebecca Fisher – Valentine Countdown Blitz

“I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the second of four children. Growing up with the influence of a long line of teachers with a passion for classical education, my time was filled with lessons in violin, cello, piano, ballet…and not-so-classical Girl Scouts and softball.
At the age of twelve, I traveled throughout Europe with my Grandmother and aunts, who filled my days with the shared reading of classics such as Jane Eyre and Sherlock Holmes, developing my love of literature early on.
I pursued my love of literature into college, earning a Bachelor’s of English, a Master’s of Education, and I am currently working to complete a Master’s in English.
My first novel, All the Wrong Places, started as a short story for a creative writing course and chronicles many of my experiences living in a mortuary, raising my daughter on my own and discovering my Christian faith.
My years in college writing programs have left me with a varied collection of short stories, plays and poetry covering many personal experiences from teenage rebellion to single-motherhood and spiritual awakening.
While writing and continuing my own education, I taught High School English in an attempt to pass my love of literature and writing on to others, and continue to share that passion with students and other aspiring writers.
I currently spend my days pursuing my creative dreams and reaching out to women to share my experience, strength and hope as a survivor of sexual assault and domestic abuse. 
I reside in Eagle, Idaho with my husband,  and my very large cat. “

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Driving aimlessly through the stormy suburbs of San Francisco, Casey Wheeler is fleeing from her abusive and unfaithful husband with her five year old daughter Maddy asleep in the backseat. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Casey loses control of her emotions and her car, crashing into a hillside below a mortuary. 

Desperately seeking shelter, and more so independence, she finds herself taken in by the mortuary director who apprehensively offers her a job and a place to live. As she stumbles through the ins and outs of her new and morbid surroundings, Casey is forced into a hostile custody battle with her relentless and increasingly violent husband. 

In the midst of all the chaos, she finds a new family and even love in the eccentric and protective people of Golden Oaks Funeral Home. But just when she has found all she could hope for, she will have to fight to the death to protect it.
This semi-autobiographical story of a single-mother and her journey to self-discovery, independence and a true understanding of love will keep readers captivated and yearning for more.
Q&A With the Author:
1.     Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction besides writing?
Most of my enjoyment comes from spending time with my people. It doesn’t really matter what we do if we’re together. I’d say eating good food together would be at the top.
2.     When did you first realize you were an author?
I have a collection of poems and short stories from family members, written by me under the age of ten, and they remind me of that compelling force to write, the stories and thoughts trying to find their way out.  It had its grip on me even at that young age. Writers must write. It’s an urge, a restlessness. I had it. Or it had me. 
3.     Have you done anything writing-related, but besides actually writing your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you? 
I write and teach science curriculum, which has been my other creative and professional pursuit. It’s fun to find creative ways to explore science with young children. 
4.     What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
Getting started and pushing past the ogre of perfectionism are the hardest things for me to overcome with every new project, or new chapter. I have to remind myself that the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to have a beginning.
5.     What is the “message” of your writing? 
I like to use my own experiences and struggles to offer hope to others. For instance, All the Wrong Places touches on domestic abuse and single-motherhood, both of which I’ve survived. I want to acknowledge the struggling, but show that there is hope for happiness and redemption. 
6.     Are your characters/stories/scenes, etc. based on anything in real life? While my books are fiction, I would call them semi-autobiographical in that I have lived many of the circumstances and overarching themes. 
7.     What are your future projects?
I have started a Christian fantasy series, and have a chapter available on my website at www.rebeccafisherbooks.com. I am also working on a children’s science series. 


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I am a home to butterflies by J. Alchem – Book Review

Every single word is a beauty in itself and each one makes complete sense. I could relate myself to many of the poems. I found love, pain, encouragement, heartbreak, hope and life in the poetry. I already read some of the author’s work and I am a home to butterflies is another extra ordinary work penned by Alchem. I loved this book to the core. The surprise element in the book is the story Letters in the end. I definitely didn’t expect the ending and it’s beautifully crafted. This book is an easy read and I finished reading it in just couple of hours. But I must say it left a lasting impression on my heart.

Cheers to the author. I look forward to reading more work from him.