Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dreaming of Castles: Humor and Romance

From Gail Gaymer Martin:
Set in Heidelberg, Germany, Dreaming of Castles is one of my favorite novels and my 2nd book published. It’s been out of print a long time, and now it is back to life with humor and poignancy in a gorgeous setting.

Dreaming of Castles
Available for Kindle and other ereaders.

“Oh, your wedding dress sounds beautiful, Anne.” Spring Dalton savored the words. She gazed at her friend with awe. She envisioned Anne’s slender body draped in a lovely, white, satin sheath, adorned with seed pearls and lace.

Anne giggled. “I know. I’m so excited I could die.”

Spring and the three young women seated at the picnic bench leaned forward on their elbows, closing the gap between theirs and Anne’s excitement. A few months earlier, Anne had dashed into the Royal Oak Studios of Artistic Design, her hand jutting forward brandishing a diamond. Each girl oohed and aahed as the ring flashed its fiery colors, but Spring knew each girl deep inside flashed her own sparks of envy. She felt the pang more than the others. Dates, for her, were as rare as Halley’s Comet.

Spring’s stomach twitched like the ears of a nervous rabbit before the question left her lips. “So, did you pick out the bridesmaids’ dresses?” She felt sure that Anne would ask her to be a bridesmaid.

Anne’s eyes shifted toward Spring, then to the wrapping that had covered her sandwich. She folded the waxed paper then raised her eyes to Spring’s. “Well, yes, I did find exactly what I want.”

She hesitated. “Pale yellow floor-length sheaths for the bridesmaids and mint green for my maid of honor. Don’t you think the colors will be lush for a late summer wedding?”

“Lush,” Spring agreed with a facetious grin. She envisioned herself in a pale yellow or green sheath, looking like a rotund lemon or lime while traipsing down the aisle At least good for a nice squeeze. She chuckled, soothing the ungainly image of herself.

Sitting at the far end of the bench, Deidre nodded. “Sounds pretty to me. I like it.” Deidre glanced at her wristwatch. “Wow! I hate to miss this, but I was due back from lunch ten minutes ago.”

She jumped from the bench. As she did, Spring grabbed for the table as the bench catapulted, toppling her to the ground.

“I hadn’t planned to make my exit quite so quickly,” Spring said, hoping to make a joke of her embarrassment. She gathered her skirt around her knees.

Deidre gaped at Spring seated precariously on the grass. “Spring, I’m so sorry. I never thought about your weight on that end.”

Embarrassment crept up Deidre’s neck and she blurted, “Oh, but I didn’t mean—”

Squirming with her own discomfort, Spring hoisted herself from the pale spring grass. “An accident. Don’t worry about it. It’s easy to forget how picnic benches flip up occasionally. Anyway, hurry, or you’ll be on Mr. Tyler’s list.”

“You’re right.” Deidre grabbed her lunch bag, rushing toward the office door. “See you inside.”

Spring grinned halfheartedly, watching Deidre make her escape. No one meant to mention Spring’s weight, but even the word alone caused everyone a twinge of regret. She knew the extra fifty pounds should come off, but somehow, it never did.

When she worked part-time at the donut shop during college, she had gotten, as she called it, “addicted” to donuts—any kind, all kinds. She chuckled to herself. Nothing eased a lonely evening like a custard-filled donut or two.

Anne gathered her wrappers and threw them in her lunch bag. “I suppose the rest of us should get back.”

“Right,” Carolyn said, rising and heading toward the door.

Spring and Anne stood alone facing each other. Spring studied Anne’s face, aware of her discomfort, and prepared herself for something she had already concluded.

Anne managed a tremulous smile. “Spring, I love you, and you’re my dearest friend, but when I picked out the dresses, I figured that. . .”

“That I’d look like a pastel blimp? I pictured that myself, Anne. Listen, don’t fret. I’m so happy for you nothing could disappointment me.” She smiled brightly, telling Anne the biggest fib she’d ever told. The hurt spilled over inside, flooding her with a mixture of emotions. She felt irritated with herself and with her friend’s exclusion. Yet she understood. Everyone wanted a beautiful wedding—and memorable wedding photographs. Spring would add an air of. . . whimsey, not beauty.

Anne threw her arm around Spring’s shoulder. “I could kill myself for being so brutal. You’re a beautiful person, Spring. You’re a good friend, and I still want you to do something special. I wonder if you’d design my wedding invitations. You’re a great artist. In fact, you don’t belong at Artistic Designs doing commercial art. I remember you sold some of your watercolors when you were in college. You should be a real artist, not one of us.”

Spring took her compliments for what they were—an apology. “I’d be honored to design your invitations, and I don’t want to hear another word.”

She gave Anne a final squeeze and unwrapped herself from her arms. They hurried back inside the building, Anne appearing to float on the warm April air and Spring with her feet in a rut.

Find link to order or read a longer excerpt:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vickie McDonough: Whispers on the Prairie

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas for their stories. That’s a hard question for me to answer because it’s usually difficult to pinpoint when the first seed of an idea for a particular story took root in my mind. Not so with my latest series.

My husband and I visited the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop in Olathe, Kansas, several years ago when I was searching an idea for a series set in Kansas. Mahaffie’s is much the same today as it was back in the 1860’s, and it is the only stage stop on the Santa Fe Trail that people can still visit. As we toured the Mahaffie’s home, which is 150 years old, and heard stories of the family, it sparked the idea for a series based on a family running a stage stop, and the Pioneer Promises series was born.

The first book in the series is Whispers on the Prairie, which released July 1st. It’s set mostly at a remote, fictional stage stop in eastern Kansas. The Harper family—Ma, Pa, and their three grown sons: Aaron, Josh, and Ethan, as well as Aaron’s two young children—run the stage stop. Life is busy, but the Harpers find contentment in their family, faith, and work. When Sarah, a pretty, young woman from Chicago, gets stranded at the stage stop, turmoil invades the Harpers’ peaceful existence, and men flock to Sarah faster than spinning dust devils.

Though his sister-in-law died several years ago, Ethan still feels responsible. He thinks if he can find a new wife for his oldest brother, Aaron, the guilt will go away—and he believes Sarah is that woman. But the more interest his brother shows Sarah, the more anxious Ethan becomes. A marriage between Aaron and Sarah is what he wants—isn’t it?

Thanks, Cher, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog and for giving me the chance to tell your readers about my latest book.

Vickie McDonough grew up reading horse stories and dreaming of marrying a rancher, instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. But those old dreams have found new life as she pens stories of ranchers, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is the award-winning author of 27 books and novellas. Her novel, End of the Trail recently won Best Fiction Novel in the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Inc’s 2013 contest, and Long Trail Home won the 2012 Booksellers’ Best Award for Inspirational Fiction. Her books have also won the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, Texas Gold, the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Awards.

To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up to receive her book news, visit her website:

Friday, July 05, 2013

Today is the final day Rain Shadow is FREE for Kindle on amazon

I am so excited to release Rain Shadow for Kindle. If you've read Heaven Can Wait, you met the Neubauer brothers and learned how Anton lost his wife. Now he is looking for a mother for his young son. Once again I took people from different worlds and put them together to see what happened.

Raised by the Lakota Sioux and having traveled with the Wild West Show for many years, Rain Shadow is unprepared for a forced stay at the home of Anton Neubauer while her son recuperates. He is a rock, a man who has lived on and farmed the same several hundred acres since he was young.
Anton needs a mother for his son, but he needs someone domestic and ladylike, not the Smith & Wesson toting female who sets up her teepee in his front yard and whose target practice wakes him at the crack of dawn. But fate, two little boys and two old men conspire to keep them together, and it’s too late to deny their passion once love is part of the equation.

“This intricately woven plot keeps readers turning pages with a smile.”
     Heartland Critiques

“…a beautifully moving novel by an author who knows how to create sympathetic characters.”
     Affaire de Coeur

“…romance that doesn't insult your intelligence, a genuine understanding of the West in the 1800's.”
     amazon reviewer

Rain Shadow has been in the Top 100 Free Kindle books this week!

The exotic Lakota princess Rain Shadow’s proud confidence was appealing, but rare glimpses of vulnerability drew Anton even more surely. As a star attraction in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, she was unforgettable. If only he’d met her before his heart had turned to stone….