Not a Word

Looking for a good read for these beautiful Spring days? Need something that makes you think but doesn’t leave you depressed? Not a Word is a story with a hard theme but clearly showsnotawordcoversm the redemption that comes from a loving God.

Not a Word:

“I’m saying that I’m not going to trash someone else’s reputation in a futile attempt to restore mine. Everyone would believe her. Why shouldn’t they? It’s probably the only lie she’s ever told in her life. Just happens to be the lie that ruined mine.”

Words have power. Add a solid reputation behind those words, and they have the power to destroy.

It began with a lie.

Mac’s life changed irrevocably with a false accusation. Blissfully unaware of the carnage she left behind when she moved from Brant’s Corners, Savannah Forrester is back and when Mac sees her at church–with a boy–he wants answers.

For eight years he’s lived under the cloud of her accusations–without defending himself. He kept her secret. He endured the shame and the life-altering consequences.

Savannah can set the record straight. Mac says no. The ultimate question remains: what is best for Rory.

And who is Rory really?

Amazon: To take advantage of this limited time special DOWNLOAD the book.

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Comment Request: At what point does allowing love to “cover a multitude of sins” go too far?

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Myner Monday: Episodes 21 and 22

This week we are giving away the next two episodes of HearthLand. Today, Monday, we are on HearthLand Episode 21: When It Rains.

When a life change tears at the fabric of a family, another change comes to HearthLand. Add to that a new investor who makes Ralph uncomfortable along with bad news from Keith, and life at HearthLand just got a whole, new level of interesting.

Then tomorrow, Tuesday, we’re up to Episode 22: A newcomer looks more suspicious every day, a resident goes missing, and a relationship takes a hit. Meanwhile, Ralph is concerned that Annie’s getting too close to someone he doesn’t trust.

These episodes are my gift to you. It’s kind of a side “hobby” of mine, if you will. I enjoy bringing these characters to life, and you get to enjoy them for free on a weekly basis. I truly hope you enjoy them.

Please, step on over to Amazon and download it!  For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered.

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Download Episode 21 on Amazon.Download Episode 22 on Amazon, tomorrow, Tuesday.

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Speak Now

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They met at a wedding and his children stole her heart. What started as a polite dance at the reception initiated a whirlwind romance. He admires her heart–not to mention her beauty. She feels more comfortable with him than anyone she’s ever met.

Their chemistry–so intense that they can’t risk affection. Their temptation threshold is simply too narrow to risk.

Cara has a unique talent for making anyone feel at ease. Jonathan prefers to listen rather than speak.

But some things must be spoken–never assumed.

This week’s special is Speak Now. So, here’s a chance to get the book  at a great low price and the opportunity to win one of a couple of Amazon Gift Cards that I give away with every promo.  How do you win you ask?  I’ll tell you!

We have lots of options.  We like to try to make it easy for everyone to get at least two entries.  We use PromoSimple widgets as our giveaway manager.  Just enter your email address and name into the widget and that’s one entry!  Answer the question in the comments below, and there’s another entry!  Then, for those who like social media (and more entries into the giveaways) here are more entry options!

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Comment Request: Are you ready to see Cara in Alexa’s next mystery?

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A HearthLand in Review

I wanted to take things back several episodes and give everyone a chance to catch up to where we are with HearthLand. So, this week, we’re going to give away Episodes 19 and 20. Episode 19 will be free all day today (Monday), and Episode 20 will be free tomorrow (Tuesday).

In Episode 19: Wedding plans have taken over HearthLand, and it seems almost everyone is getting into the spirit of things–to the delight of some and disapproval of others. Ralph has an idea to solve Annie’s problems, but she isn’t convinced. But just as everything seems right with the world, everything goes wrong.

In Episode 20: The vandalism doesn’t end with Kate and Janie’s place, and The Agency’s theory appears to be incomplete. The residents “mother” Ralph a bit as he endures forced “recuperation” and instead, drive him crazy.
Ramiro and Susannah talk to Kirk and things get dicey. Fireworks explode in several directions, and leave everyone wondering what sparks were ignited by them!

These episodes are my gift to you. It’s kind of a side “hobby” of mine, if you will. I enjoy bringing these characters to life, and you get to enjoy them for free on a weekly basis. I truly hope you enjoy them.

For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered.

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Tomorrow Download Episode 20.

 

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A Few Winners!

First… the Q&A ladies…

MS Barb:  You won the “most inspirational” one.  The minute I saw the description I had a book idea.  While all the other ideas did eventually spark something, I chose yours because of the “instant” connection with the story idea.

Tanya:  You won the “random”.

Since only 4 people entered, I decided to go ahead and send a gift certificate to all of you.  Thank you for playing along!  :D

March Newsletter Winners:

Hannah McG
Crystal
Sylvia
Carol

And… CORNER BOOTH!  Who won the mug and the gift card???  First, the regular Amazon gift cards went to:

Jane
Sarah

and the grand prize:

AMY!

I’ve sent an email to everyone.  Those with gift cards have received them already, but I need a little info from Amy, so she just has the boring old email from me.  Amazon will send the others directly to the recipients.  They’re nice that way.  If you pay for it, they’ll do almost anything you want with what you buy.  It’s almost like Santa Claus.  Ask and receive–no wait, I’m pretty sure Someone else said that first.  ;)

WHOA!  I just had the most bizarre thought.  Many of our holidays are wrapped in that one verse!

Ask and it shall be given= Santa Claus/Christmas
Seek and you shall find= Easter Bunny/Easter
Knock and the door will be opened= Halloween

I never thought of that before.  We seem unable to help adding the principles from God’s Word to almost anything, don’t we?

 

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Noble Pursuits

Nolan Burke has everything a man could hope for- well, except for a wife. In his search for a genuine relationship, he’s come up empty handed. Desperate for a change of scenery (and desperate for an escape from the attentions of aggressive Rockland women), he’s relocating to Brunswick.

He is not prepared for Grace.

Independent, strong, and decidedly feminine, Grace Buscher is living her childhood dream. While friends and family watch concerned and amazed, she pinches pennies into dollars as the most successful (and only) house-spinster in the greater Rockland area.

When Nolan meets Grace, two worlds collide resulting in accidents, misunderstandings, and one silly serenade to a mouse.

This week’s special is Noble Pursuits. So, here’s a chance to get the book  at a great low price and the opportunity to win one of a couple of Amazon Gift Cards that I give away with every promo.  How do you win you ask?  I’ll tell you!

We have lots of options.  We like to try to make it easy for everyone to get at least two entries.  We use PromoSimple widgets as our giveaway manager.  Just enter your email address and name into the widget and that’s one entry!  Answer the question in the comments below, and there’s another entry!  Then, for those who like social media (and more entries into the giveaways) here are more entry options!

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Comment Request: How did you meet your would-be spouse?

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HearthLand Episode 24 ~ Forearmed

Great news? Our Savior is alive. Not so great news? I found myself up pushing 3 hours later than normal yesterday, sewing a dress.

Thankfully, the good so greatly outweighs the bad as to not be comparable. However, exhaustion calls… Or is that my bed? Either way, time for this writer to dream up new stories to write about.

In Episode 24: Annie’s worst nightmare seems to have come true, and Ralph blames himself. HearthLand is turned upside down, and when a TV crew arrives, it seems as if their attempt at an idyllic life is over.

It’s time for,  Episode 24: Moving in day for most of HearthLand’s first residents results in a crisis of faith for Susannah as well as a new home. Annie and Ralph enjoy a peaceful day together, but with Derek’s return, things heat up. And where’s Ryan?

These episodes are my gift to you. It’s kind of a side “hobby” of mine, if you will. I enjoy bringing these characters to life, and you get to enjoy them for free on a weekly basis. I truly hope you enjoy them.

Please, step on over to Amazon and download it!  For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered.

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What’s the Big Idea? : Or 5 Ways I Get Inspired

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creative girlI love getting emails from readers, and this week I got one from Kim.  She wrote:

I loved your Past Forward series – I was hooked from page 1. I have all the books in the Hearthland series so far but just started reading it last night. I hated having to wait for the next one to come out in Past Forward, so I waited with the one so I could just sit down and keep on going! You have such a variety of genres in your novels, WWII, pirates, self-sustaining communities, early 20th century mysteries – where do you get your ideas from?

Thanks for sharing your gift with us, it is such a blessing!

Kim

Aaah… ideas.  They’re cool things, aren’t they?  I wrote about this a little bit in another Author Q&A post HERE.  Feel free to zip over and see what that one was about.  But while Lisa’s question dealt with the fact that I have many ideas, Kim’s is more about where I get them.   So, I thought I’d list out the ways I can think of.  I came up with five main ones.  I like lists and I’m in the middle of budgets and taxes, so I’m going all numerical on you guys!

  1. A question.  Many of my books begin with a question.  My first, Ready or Not (though not my first published), was conceived because of a question people asked me all the time.  “You have 8 kids (at that time). I can’t handle the one (or two or three…) kids that I have, and you have EIGHT!   How do you do it?” I always had the same answer.  “I didn’t get all eight at once.  I got them one at a time and by the time I got used to that one, then another one came along.  It wasn’t like I woke up one morning with no mothering experience and suddenly had eight kids to take care of.”  But, because it’s how my brain works, I immediately asked myself.  “What if someone did?”  And, because I’m an author, I have to torture the character.  So I expanded it.  And expanded it.  And… Yeah.  You get the picture.  Pretty soon the question was, “What would happen if a recent college graduate with no practical child experience became guardian overnight for her sister’s eight children–with the grandmotherly equivalent to a stereotypical (not nice) mother-in-law?”  And Aggie was born.
    Several books began that way.  Noble Pursuits began as a question.  “What would happen if the ‘plain, overweight, homemaker’ caught the heart of the ‘eligible bachelor’?”  Justified Means began as a question too.  “How could a stranger kidnap an adult for her own good?”
  2. Another way  I get ideas is through dreams–seriously.  Prairie and the whole Journey of Dreams series began that way.  I kept hearing “Theme from a Summer Place” while I slept.  I saw the golden prairie grasses waving in the wind–like ocean waves once you’re past the breakers.  I could hear the slither of snakes in the grass and see the birds circling overhead.  I felt the emptiness–the aloneness.  And I heard the full orchestra sound of Percy Faith slip into the lone whistle of a man walking home in the twilight.  I dreamed it several times in a row.  And once I started writing, that book almost wrote itself.  So weird.  I don’t do it often, but I have.  Now that I think about it, I think Thirty Days Hath… was the result of a dream.
  3. Image property of Amazon.com

    Sometimes it’s inspired by my favorite childhood book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  That is the book that inspired me to write (but you can read about that HERE).  A wise teacher in the book said, “Tell the exact truth.  Write what should have happened” (or something very close to that).  Mismatched was inspired that way.  It was when my husband was in the hospital three and a half years ago.  A man stepped into the elevator with me–a man I usually would have given a wide berth.  Why?  Well, he looked “unsafe” to my eyes.  See, when I’d arrived at that hospital, I had no idea it was considered a “rough place” to go at night.  I blithely walked through the doors and stared in shock as I had to go through metal detectors just to talk to the guy at the ER counter.  Whoa.  So, I’d gotten a bit of an education.  Add to that a friend of my kids’ who happens to have a few tattoos and piercings, and such a gentle heart and love for Jesus, and I was desperate to write a book about “what should have happened.”  I wanted to write a response that I hope, having learned more about life after my sheltered little existence, would show my love for the people Jesus died for–those who acknowledge it and those who don’t.  Crushed Dreams (“sequel” to Deepest Roots of the Heart) also has that behind it–in a less overt way.

  4. Sometimes, it’s a character.  The Hartfield Mysteries were conceived that way.  You know how small towns often have eccentric elderly women who keep the community either amused with their antics or the kids a bit awed and afraid of her?  I created one, but I wanted her younger.  Her name was Millicent and she wrote mysteries–cozies. She dressed like Jane Austen, and the town gossiped about her rituals and the source of her inspiration.  She changed.  Next thing I knew, she wore clothing from all sorts of eras.  Then I chucked the name Millicent.  I didn’t think many modern agents and publishers would like a name so very old-fashioned for such a young writer.  She went from eccentric and reclusive to eclectic and private.  She became generous and feisty–beloved and a little awe-inspiring.  She got a new name.  Annette.  I gave her a pseudonym.  Alexa.  Then I irritated her by giving her a clichéd plot and twisted it.  I like irritating my characters.
    Willow had several inspirations, and one was definitely her.  Another was her mother.  Kari is very similar to my father–the reclusive side, the ever-teaching.  The staunchly independent personality.  Had he been able to do it, he would absolutely have given me a very similar upbringing.   There are others… Charity from Introductions (you meet her in a few other books like Manuscript for Murder and None So Blind), and to some degree Not a Word.  Mac and Savvy both had character things I really wanted to work from–his willingness to love when wounded and let that love ‘cover a multitude of sins’ and her being the ‘good Christian girl’ who felt duped by stereotyped lessons in Sunday school.
  5. madeline6smAnd lastly (for this blog post’s purposes anyway), photos.  Seriously.  I go over to a stock photo site to find something for a current WIP (work in progress) and run across something else.  That’s how I got the idea for the Meddlin’ Madeline series.  I was looking for something–a picture for a meme, I think.  And I found this pretty letter/heart combo thing.  And I realized that it would be beautiful as a cover if I layered a girl over the top, “ghosting” it a bit.  But the writing was older, Spencerian penmanship, so I wanted someone in a more Victorian or Edwardian outfit.  As I looked, I came up with an entire book idea just for that picture.  But then I found a series of pictures with the girl on the covers of my Meddlin’ Madeline books.  That magnifying glass tempted me.  I suddenly had a character–a really cool and fun character.  She’s sort of a mix between Jane Marple and Nancy Drew–back at the turn of the 20th century!  I mean, c’mon!  How cool is she?  By the way, MOScoverAshley is considering letting me make her a serial novel.  So, I might be able to give her away FREE!  WOOT!  Another book I did this with is one that will come out in a couple of years.  My photographer daughter took birthday pictures of my other daughter and as a result… we got the cover for this book and with it, the idea exploded in my mind.  I have the entire thing plotted out.  I know what will happen when/how/where.  I’m dying to work on it.

So… there you have it.  The top five ways I get ideas for my books.  As I said in the other referenced post, I continually have new ideas–daily, really.  People ask what I’ll do when I run out.  As of today, I could never write every book I have in my head or in notes.  I simply won’t live that long.

Kim won a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card for coming up with a question I used, but she graciously asked me to give it to someone I knew would need it.  I decided to offer it up here.  And, I’m going to sweeten the pot because I’m going to make you work for it.  I’m giving away TWO Amazon Gift Cards.  To win, give me  SOME kind of inspiration for a new book or short story.  It can be a character name, a setting, a question, a picture (I primarily use thinkstock.com, istockphoto.com, and shutterstock.com–anything.  I’ll draw a random winner for one of the $5.00 gift cards, and I’ll pick a favorite idea for the other.  By posting the inspirational idea, you are granting me permission to use it in some form.  :)

Get those creative juices flowing and good luck!

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HearthLand Episode 23 ~ Forewarned

It’s time for,  Episode 23: Moving in day for most of HearthLand’s first residents results in a crisis of faith for Susannah as well as a new home. Annie and Ralph enjoy a peaceful day together, but with Derek’s return, things heat up. And where’s Ryan?

These episodes are my gift to you. It’s kind of a side “hobby” of mine, if you will. I enjoy bringing these characters to life, and you get to enjoy them for free on a weekly basis. I truly hope you enjoy them.

Please, step on over to Amazon and download it!  For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered.

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Download Episode 23 on Amazon.

 

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This Week

For any that have missed the first episodes of HearthLand, this week’s special is HearthLand volume I, which includes Episodes 1-6.

After a trip to Walden Farm and an afternoon talking to Chad and Willow Tesdall, Ralph Myner caught a vision for what life could be like. Against the advice of his nephew, Ralph sinks his entire retirement account into an incredibly risky venture.

Harlan Walker thinks his uncle has gone crazy. With the project in motion, all he can do is try to find people to invest their time, money, and even their lives into Ralph’s project before the man ends up broke and without means to survive.

People come from all walks of life as they embrace a new world–the world of HearthLand.

This week’s special is HearthLand volume I. So, here’s a chance to get the book  at a great low price and the opportunity to win one of a couple of Amazon Gift Cards that I give away with every promo.  How do you win you ask?  I’ll tell you!

We have lots of options.  We like to try to make it easy for everyone to get at least two entries.  We use PromoSimple widgets as our giveaway manager.  Just enter your email address and name into the widget and that’s one entry!  Answer the question in the comments below, and there’s another entry!  Then, for those who like social media (and more entries into the giveaways) here are more entry options!

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The book is available at .99 for a limited time (subject to change at Ashley’s whim) on
Amazon

Comment: Have you ever desired to live in a cooperative community?

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