… it was about the land…a tale of love and loss and hope…
“The most engaging and brilliantly crafted historical work since Margaret Mitchell’s great classic.”
Author, The Gospel According to Prissy
Hamilton Ingram looked out across the fertile Georgia bottomlands that were Moccasin Hollows, seeing holdings it had taken generations of Ingrams to build.No drop of slave sweat ever shed in its creation.It was about the land…his trust, his duty to preserve it for the generation of Ingrams to come…
It is July of 1859, a month of sweltering dog days and feverish emotional bombast.Life is good for widower Rundell Ingram and his Hazel-eyed, roan-haired son, Hamilton.Between the two of them, they take care of Moccasin Hollows, their rustic dogtrot ancestral home, a sprawling non-slave plantation in the rolling farming country outside Queensborough Towne in east Georgia.Adjoining Ingram lands is Wisteria Bend, the vast slave-holding plantation of Andrew and Corinthia Greer, their daughter Sarah, and son Benjamin.
Both families share generations of long-accepted traditions, and childhood playmates are no longer children.The rangy, even-tempered Norman-Scottish young Hamilton is smitten with Sarah, who has become an enticing capricious beauty—the young lovers more in love with each passing day, and only pleasant times ahead of them.
But a blood tide of war is sweeping across the South, a tide that might be impossible to stand before.
Bessie's head jerked around, "...them gun shots."
A stooped-over Sarah looked up, "What?"
"Gun shots..."Bessie put down the box of jars and headed toward the cellar door."From the direction where the men be.We gittin' upstairs, an' gittin' now."
Sarah's heart pounded as they came up out of the cellar and looked in the direction of more shots.
"Come on..."Bessie hurried into the pantry where she reached down the powder horn from the top shelf, then the rifle and pistols. "Git 'em ready with all that shootin'.Till we know different, we make sure two-legged low-downs don't sneak to the house."
Sarah rushed to the window and murmured, "Hamilton..."She fearedfor him, for their child, for all of them."Surely you don't suppose it's Federals?"
"Might be better if'n it is 'stead of what else be skulkin' in them woods.Stay away from the winder, an' finish rammin' this powder."
Sarah poured the ball and powder firm, rammed it, pulled the rammer out, and whispered, "Bessie listen...birds stopped singing."
"Except that cawin' crow seein' somethin' what don't belong."
Sarah took another quick peek, "There's several horses, but I don't see any riders.Mules are still hitched.I don't see anyone at the plow, but there's men on among the trees."
"You watch the front door."Bessie snugged the pistol in her apron pocket."I cover the back.Anybody tries comin' through the dogtrot door or through the parlor, we back into here, keep 'em from circlin' us."
"What about Papa Rundell?"Sarah's stomach was queasy.
"He keep his rifle ready.Anyone bust in his room be dead 'fore they twitch a hair."
With a crash the kitchen door flew open.Sarah brought her rifle up and fired, the shot splintering door and jamb.The sound thundered through the house.Bessie's rifle steadied dead-on.
The silhouetted head and shoulders ducked into a hunch and Hamilton yelled, "Sarah!"His hand smeared at stinging blood-speckled splinters of wood along his cheek.
Today, I have a fun excerpt from Hawk MacKinneys novel, Moccasin Trace. Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post. Hawk will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. See the giveaway terms at the end of the post.
With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.
Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention.Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012.
“Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy–these are the things that take Hawk’s main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation’s capital and across Europe and the Middle East.”
Barbara Casey, President
Barbara Casey Literary Agency
This giveaway is provided by and the responsibility of the author and Goddess Fish Promotions.
Hawk will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Small Change Sheila Roberts Women's contemporary romance St. Martin's Griffin 3/30/10 356
Take a trip to the charming little town of Heart Lake, and meet three best friends you’ll never forget. . . .
Rachel, Jessica, and Tiffany have major money problems. Tiffany’s whipped out the plastic one too many times, and now a mountain of debt has come crashing down on her. Jessica’s husband has lost his job, thrusting this longtime stay-at-home mom out into the cold, cruel workforce. And Rachel’s divorce transformed her from an upper-middle-class mom to a strapped-for-cash divorcée. So the three women start a financial support group called the Small Change Club—vowing to bring balance back to their checkbooks…and, in turn, their lives. Along the way they learn some valuable lessons—that friendship is an investment that keeps on growing and that sometimes love, like a loose coin, can be found in the most unexpected places…
Roberts’s trademark humor and memorable characters wrestling with real-life issues add up to a novel that will make readers smile and wish for more.”—BookPage
Rachel Green left her principal’s office minus her smile. This was a rotten way to end the school day, not to mention the year. She marched to her empty classroom, mentally chanting, “Why me?” with each step. The answer to that was simple: some gremlin had pasted a Kick Me sign on her backside.
First divorce, now no job – a kick for each cheek.
She’d known teaching fifth grade at Heart Lake Elementary wasn’t a permanent position when she’d stepped in to take Ambika Sinj’s class after Ambika had gone on maternity leave. But, deep down, Rachel had hoped that once Ambika had her baby she would opt for full-time motherhood. She hadn’t.
This school was a great one with an excellent principal and good kids. Rachel didn’t blame Ambika for wanting to come back to work, thus depriving her substitute of steady employment for the next year. She blamed the gremlin. Inside her classroom she shook a fist and growled, “You’re messing with the wrong woman.”
“Steve Martin in drag. Now, that is scary,” said a voice from the classroom doorway. “Are you auditioning for a remake of Trains, Planes, and Automobiles?
Rachel turned to see Elsa Wilson, a wiry fifty-year old who taught third grade, regarding her with eyebrows raised. She slumped on her desk. “Don’t get too close to me. I’m a bad luck lightning rod.”
“Don’t tell me, let me guess. Ambika’s coming back and you’re out of work?”
Rachel nodded. She wanted to cry. Instead, she turned and began erasing math problems off the white board, ignoring the ache beginning at her temples. “Oh, well. I’ll go back to subbing.”
Elsa joined her and picked up the other eraser. “Not a bad plan. Between us and the middle school, we’ll keep you busy.”
But could they keep her busy enough? “I know. It’s just . . .” She didn’t finish the sentence. She didn’t need to. Elsa understood. It was so much easier to come into the same classroom every day and work with the same students, to have your own lesson plans to follow instead of someone else’s. Most important, a permanent teaching position meant benefits and a guaranteed salary. Not necessarily a huge salary, but regular. Money was tight even when Rachel was working full time. Once she was reduced to substitute teaching she’d be vacuum-sealed in debt. Panic grabbed at her ankles. She attempted to kick free. “I’ll be fine.” At least she’d still have free dental for the kids.
“Of course you will,” said Elsa. “You’re a survivor.”
It was a far cry from being a princess, which was what her parents had raised her to be. When she met Aaron Green the dentist she thought she’d found her prince. First he told her she had a beautiful smile. Then he told her she had a beautiful body. Then, after two kids, two cars, a mortgage, and her fortieth birthday, he’d found another woman and told her goodbye. But not until he’d made sure that much of his money did a disappearing act, probably into some account of his mother’s. Just one of the Universe’s little cosmic jokes. Ha, ha. Almost as funny as finding herself with no steady employment and a student loan to pay off. Now she had a Master’s degree in education and no job, rather like having a bridal gown and no husband. Oh, bad analogy.
Maybe someday her prince would come. Ha. If he did she’d slam the door in his face. She needed another prince like she needed a third boob. She already had her hands full with Aaron, who was as lousy an ex as he once was a husband – always late with his child support payments, but still managing to come up with money for presents for the kids and frequent trips to Pizza Heaven to ensure his status as the favorite parent. She’d been coping with all that, pretty much, but now she’d been set adrift in a leaky raft on a stormy financial sea. Was she a survivor?
“You bet I am,” she said as much to herself as to Elsa. She’d show Aaron, and his mother (who never liked her). And she’d show the damned gremlin, too.
Happy Valentines Day!
Today, I hope you enjoy the excerpt from Sheila Roberts novel, Small Change. If it peaks your interest, don’t miss her guest post where she shares a little bit more of each of her characters and her story.
Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post. Sheila will be awarding a copy of Small Change and a $25 Visa gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children.
Writing since 1989, Sheila’s books have been printed in several different languages and have been chosen for book clubs such as Doubleday as well as for Readers Digest Condensed books. Her best-selling novel ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a movie and appeared on the Lifetime Movie Network, and her novel THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS has just been optioned for film. Her novel ANGEL LANE was named one of Amazon’s Top Ten Romances for 2009.
When she’s not making public appearances or playing with her friends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.
Rachel, Tiffany and Jess have got problems. Money problems, to be exact. These days, a lot of us can identify with that! In fact, if you or your other half have lost a job or if you’re upside down on your house, or if you’re finding that your money isn’t stretching the way it used to you may be thinking, and I want to read a book about women with money problems why?
Well, because it’s a fun read. I think I can safely promise you some laughs when you read my novel SMALL CHANGE as well as some happy tears so maybe you’ll want to meet Rachel, Tiffany and Jess. Maybe you’ll even identify with what one of these women is going through. And maybe some of the solutions they come up with will inpsire you. At least that’s my hope. So let me tell you a little about my characters.
Rachel is divorced and finding it hard living on a small income and having to carefully dole out money and treats while her skunk of an ex buys their children’s affection with treats and adventures she can’t afford. She knows she shouldn’t spend money she doesn’t have out of guilt but it’s so tempting. And it’s so hard to resist when her children wheedle her for money.
Her friend Tiffany is a shopaholic. Shopping is filling a void left by an earlier miscarriage but it’s not doing much for the family budget… or her relationship with her husband. Tiffany may need to find some new ways to get a buzz.
Jess’s husband just got downsized out of a job. She’s middle-aged and is going to have to enter the job market to help keep the family financial boat afloat. Doing… what? She’s trained for nothing but she’s got to do something.
Rachel thinks they all need to do something and suggest they help each other learn about how to handle money. They can not only learn how to live more frugally, they can also being each other’s support system, helping each other stay strong when one of them is tempted to fall off the financial wagon.
The women get creative, shopping garage sales and planting gardens, going berry picking …getting frightened by bears. Or is it a bear?! (Well, not all money-saving ideas turn out the way you think they’re going to.) And they learn, not only about money but about life and love and the importance of taking a second chance.
Problems. No character enjoys having them. None of us in real life do, either. But when characters encounter problems they conquer them, learn from them and, in short, prove themselves heroic.
Rather like we do in real life. I have to confess, I hate problems. But I do usually learn from my problems. I come up with solutions, make the necessary changes and the problem goes away… or at least becomes manageable. Like the characters in my book, I don’t want the darned things but if they come, oh, well, I’ll deal with them. And one thing I took away after writing this novel was the conviction that, with determination, research, and, of course, the help of our friends, we can face those challenges and come out on top.
This giveaway is provided by and the responsibility of the author and Goddess Fish Promotions. Contest ends February 21, 2014.
Sheila will be awarding a copy of Small Change and a $25 Visa gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY)
Don't Let Rocky Get Away Yuval Harpaz Children's Amazon Digital Services, Inc. January 1, 2014 ebook 33 complimentary from author
What would you do if you were completely covered by a rolling pile of mess and toys?
Join Tommy on his adventurous and fun journey through the lost toys world.
Discover what it takes to catch Rocky, the naughty runaway monkey toy,
which holds the secret path back home.
Is Rocky really a bad monkey or is it a tale encouraging kids to take responsibility
on their thoughts and actions?
By reading this book you can let your kids realize the benefits of keeping their room
clutter free. The story can help overcome the common struggle between
parents and children about organizing the kids toys and room.
This children's book of a kids journeys is a great introduction to "chapter books".
It is suitable for kids at the age of 6-8.
With 23K words and 18 charming illustrations, the story encourages children to
improve reading proficiency.
** By getting this book you are entitled for FREE and Exclusive purchase extras! **
An Audio Book - 12:34 minutes narration of the story (MP3 format)
A Parent's Guide - 8 indispensable tips on organizing messy children's rooms (PDF format)
A Coloring Booklet - 17 illustrations for fun and creative times (PDF format)
*Disclosure – I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the author and all opinions are my own.*
Don’t Let Rocky Get Away! Is a clever story that teaches kids to be more respectful and organized of their toys.
The author, Yuval Harpaz, takes us on a journey to the land of lost toys.When, Tommy finds himself in an unfamiliar place, his ‘sock monkey’ toy tells him he will show him the way home if he can catch him.This leads Tommy on a chase, where along the way, he finds missing toy parts that have gotten lost in the mess in Tommy’s room.
For any parent that struggles with getting their kids to clean up their room, this book is cleverly written and will help teach your kids about organization and responsibility.It’s just more fun to play with your toys when all the pieces are together and in one place, right?
I read this book to my 5-year-old, whose room isn’t much different than Tommy’s.He found it to be funny, and he especially enjoyed the monkey.The message seemed to hit home with him as well, because he wanted to ‘put his toys back together’ so they’d be happy.
The illustrations complement the story and even sneaks in some very thoughtful quotes. I would recommend this book for children aged 5-8.
Yuval Harpaz is a married father of 3, likes jogging, writing, photography and personal development. He has rich imagination and sometimes is even caught doodling comics on napkins.
Yuval’s stories are built to establish the love for books and reading in children. He accompanies his stories with intense and colorful illustrations. His stories are meant to make a difference and to allow children to develop and master a new level of reading.
George Knows Mindy Mymudes Urban Fantasy, Midgrade MuseItUp 12/6/13 200
An egotistical magical basset hound named George believes it's his duty to train and protect his 12-year-old, a greenwitch named Karly. The world is full of people who don't know how to use their natural human senses, and while teaching Karly to use hers, he's also teaching her how to use her magic. George is the perfectly designed familiar.
I don’t understand my Girlpup; the rest of my Pack adores me. Packmom Doreen is always an easy conquest. She saved me when I was a puppy and I fell over my ears, and my legs wouldn’t stay under me. She is the most important member of the Pack—she feeds us.
Just not often enough.
Packdad Brian is very well trained and does whatever Packmom Doreen wants. In the last two years, I’ve become a model of the perfect hunting hound. Karly needs to see me for what I am, and she doesn’t.
When I prowl in her mind, I see how she pictures me—a clumsy, stupid, wobbly pup. I shouldn’t have to prove to her I am the best familiar in the world or that I am brilliant. I shouldn’t, but I know I’ll have to.
“George!” she shouts through panting. Why is she running? “Where the heck are you?”
Although Karly’s scent changed after her twelfth birthday from sweetmilkFrootLoops to that fakeflowerchemical that she thinks removes her odor, I know it’s her. Even if I can’t smell her, I can still hear her stumble over the path. Big rocks and trees that scrape the sky get in the way. She needs to get lower to the ground. Now she’s sneezing. If only she’d work with me, her allergies would go bye-bye. Whoever heard of an allergic witch-in-training? We can use green magic. Except, Karly will first have to trust me.
And she doesn’t.
Maybe when she gets older.
I continue to scrape my claws into the damp ground, searching for more smelltastes and listening for my Girlpup. She’s panting like it’s a hot day. At least she’s catching up. I am satisfied she’s okay, and dig like a badger with my wonderful big paws and claws, the ideal excavation tools. I wish I was digging up the den of a rabbit. I slow to sniff.
There’s no rabbit here.
Something different’s calling me.
What the heck is it?
Dirt and roots pile up behind me, and my rear is now higher than my front as I dig. I scrape against rocks and try to push them away. They aren’t rocks—too long and thin. I wrap my jaws around one and toss it with a headshake out of the hole. I find another and do the same thing, until there is a pile of buff-colored things that looks like bleached driftwood.
I heave myself out of the hole and investigate my find. The thick sticks are hairy with fine roots. I pick one up. It’s light for its size, hollow, and about the size of a rawhide bone. It has a round knob on one side and is broken off on the other. I retrieve more pieces from the hole and sit. Maybe they are old branches.
They don’t smelltaste like old branches.
Karly finally shows up, huffing and puffing, out of breath. She needs to get out more. I poke my nose into the pile of things I’ve dug out. “George, what are you doing? You aren’t, um, eating those, are you?”
I look at her like she’s crazy. I don’t eat wood.
Karly points to the things and counts them. “So what did you find? There are nine of whatever they are.” She bends down and touches one. “Weird, they look like someone snapped them in half.” My Girlpup takes one of the longer things and rubs off the dirt.
She drops it like it’s a pan just out of the oven. I take a sniff; it’s not hot. There’s something here, though.
Not a good something, either.
“G-G-George, those are bones,” Karly’s voice breaks as she stutters over my name. I take another sniff. Yeah, they could be bones. What’s the problem with that? I lick one. It tastes like dirt. They’ve been here a long time.
Just a bunch of animal bones. Maybe a big dog buried them. What’s bothering her? The hackles rise on the back of my neck. The not good gassulfurdrysnakecatstink smelltaste spins around my brain like smoke.
I hack and cough. I know exactly what kind of bones these are.
*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy for review from the author and VBT cafe and all opinions are my own.*
George Knows is a super fun story that not only kids will enjoy, but many adults will as well.
This is a unique story that is told from George’s point of view – a smart, clever Bassett Hound. Seeing the story through his eyes made for an enjoyable read. It was quite comical at times, and I found myself cracking up quite a bit throughout the book. There is quite a mix of mystery, magic and fantasy throughout the book, but it all flows so well in the story. I loved seeing George and his ‘familiar’, Karly grow together and learn from one another throughout the book.
My only complaint with this story is the over abundance use of words that George uses. Words like ‘smelltaste’, ’feeltaste’, ‘gassulfurdrysnakecatstink’ and more just became too annoying for me. But to be fair, when I read parts of this story to my son, he got a kick out of those words. So I have to say that I’m sure the intended audience would enjoy these quirky sayings coming from George.
Overall, this is a super fun book that I would recommend for kids of all ages.
Mindy Mymudes runs with the Muddy Paws Pack in Milwaukee, WI. She insists she is alpha, even as the dogs walk all over her. She hunts, cleans the den and keeps them entertained. When she can escape the pack, she enjoys digging in dirt, listening to audiobooks, and weaving the antics of the pack into stories. The alpha male, Tall Dude, just shakes his head and stays out of the way.
Return to Audubon Springs Brothers of Audubon Springs series RoseAnn DeFranco Contemporary, Romance, Humor 12/4/13 246
When Emma Grant returns to her family's Audubon Springs beach house to fulfill the stipulations of her father's will, she has every intention of forcing her former lover out of the house for good. She's never fit into her wealthy family and would prefer avoiding her past, but with her brother threatening to reveal her young daughter, she has no choice.
Rafe Iuliano has other plans. The wealthy Grants tried to bribe him out of Emma's life years ago, but he's determined to prove once and for all that a master carpenter is worthy of Emma and the house.
Their ridiculous and steamy battle for the house reignites the love and passion that bloomed between them years ago. But when Rafe discovers she's kept their daughter a secret for two years, can he overcome anger and pride to claim his family and the love of his life, or will the deception drive a final wedge between them?
Emma would have looked adorable in the simple snug tank top and Bermuda shorts if it weren’t for the look of utter horror on her face.“Have you lost your mind?” she screamed.“Yes!” He turned off the saw, threw it on the ground, whipped off his protective goggles and tossed them as well. “Why do you ask?”“You cut a massive hole in the back door!”“This here is an example of our differences. You see a hole. I see a home improvement project. This is no ordinary square hole in a door, this is a doggie door.” He pushed on the large piece of cut wood until it fell and landed on the pantry floor inside with a loud clap.
“It’s about three times the size of a doggie door,” she stated flatly.
“Yeah, but I’m the dog. So Princess, what do you think?”
“I think you are insane.”
“I AM insane! You have MADE me insane! You threw all my stuff out front. You used my underwear for rags!”
“I couldn’t find anything else.”
“There is a basket full of rags in there.”
“None of them fit the occasion,” she said with a straight face.
“I must have lost my mind because that almost makes sense.” He gestured to the door. “Ladies first.” When she stared unmoving, he climbed through the cut door and opened it. “Just for the record, a caveman would have made you climb through.”
“Just for the record, I only changed the locks on the front door.”
Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post. RoseAnn will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter
during the tour.
RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing romance. RoseAnn blogs about her writing experiences with her critique partners at www.the violetfemmes.com. A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family. She would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town Audubon Springs from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series. More information about these Contemporary Romantic Comedies can be found at www.radefranco.com.
I’ve been thinking a lot about weather lately. It could be due to the recent burst of snow storms to hit the North East, but I was recently asked to discuss setting in writing. In doing so, I took a close look at the setting of RETURN TO AUDUBON SPRINGS and made a discovery. While the setting itself is very important to the story, I incorporated a series of weather changes throughout the book that matched the moods of either Rafe or Emma. Audubon Springs is a small Jersey Shore town. Much of the book takes place right there in their house on Ocean Ave, on the beach, or in the water. The residential town itself boasts beautiful Victorian style homes and a street of shops at its center that feeds into a second body of water, a beautiful lake surrounded by a park. With two bodies of water to work with, it’s no wonder weather wreaked havoc on these two! When they were peaceful, so was the ocean, when they were at odds with one another, the ocean grew choppy and restless. What starts out as a sun shower while Emma and Rafe are apart, turns into a full blown storm on the page as soon as they come together. In my mind, it is Irene, the first of two hurricanes that hit the Jersey shore in the last few years.
And while I love those moments of passion, what I love even more about these two are the quiet moments that follow when an understanding is formed amidst the wreckage.
I wonder if weather plays an important part of the tone for other Authors? Readers, how does the weather enhance or distract from your reading experience?
This giveaway is provided by and the responsibility of the author and Goddess Fish Promotions. Contest ends February 21, 2014.
RoseAnn will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Enter in the rafflecopter form below.